Believe it or not, there was a scroll that went around the churches that is said to predate the writings of Paul and the Gospels themselves. It has a unique history in that it is mentioned by very early writers such as Origen who lived in the Second Century A.D. Who exactly wrote it is uncertain and why it isn’t in the cannon of Scripture will be found to be obvious as we continue reading and researching it.
SO WHY BRING THIS UP THIS YEAR?????
Brothers and Sisters, this was what the early Gentile followers of Christ had to life a right life. It brought the Ten Commandments and other basic teachings to include the morality laws that Jesus reiterated NOT removed from how to live and be saved from eternal death.
If we want to get a closer look at what was taught and how it was presented to the early church before for year 100 A.D. then this is it. It is simple yet complex. It does not contain complex doctrinal ideals that we find in Paul’s writings. NOr does it contain the Spiritualism written in John’s Gospel. Simply the Didache is a text for understanding right from wrong, Baptizing procedures, and the treatment of others who come to preach the Word as well as a look into the Lord’s Supper, how to pray and more.
The text is propsed to have been written at a point not too long after Jesus was Crucified so if you want to know what they knew and understood this is it.
So Let’s Get Started
To start us off, the first chapter says begins with a clear statement, a way leading to life, and a way leading to death. The writer concentrates on a way of life. Here is the first Chapter.
There are two ways, one of life and one of death! And there is a great difference between the two ways.
The way of life is this: First, you shall love God who made you. And second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to another what you would not want done to you. The meaning of these sayings is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there for loving those who love you? Do not the heathens do the same? But you should love those who hate you, and then you shall have no enemies. Abstain from fleshly and bodily lusts: If someone strikes your right cheek, turn the other also, and be perfect. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two. If someone takes your cloak, give also your coat. If someone takes from you what is yours, don’t ask for it back. You really cannot. Give to everyone who asks you, and don’t ask for it back. The Father wants his blessings shared. Happy is the giver who lives according to this rule, for that one is guiltless. But the receiver must beware; for if one receives who has need, he is guiltless, but if one receives not having need, he shall stand trial, answering why he received and for what use. If he is found guilty he shall not escape until he pays back the last penny. However, concerning this, there is a saying: “Let your alms sweat in your hands until you know to whom to give them.”
The difference between life and death has to do with the way we live our days. Follow the path of light written in the Word and you live, not doing so leads to death. So what are the basic tenants we are to follow? Love God the Father, Creator; Give the same love to others as you would have love for yourself; Treat others how you wish to be treated. We are told that loving our neighbor should include those who we dislike, in fact we should show them love more, how else would we share God’s Love than to show our “enemies” that it is better to love than to hate. We are, after all, made of the same flesh and bone with slight physical variations.
America was on the verge of equality until certain incidents occurred that caused racial tensions to rise way beyond what they should have. An act of justice that leads to a violent outbreak only to find out the accusations were fabricated and the city was in ruins over a big misunderstanding caused a movement that separated a nation. Rights were given to individuals under false pretenses and the persons took to destroying the rights of others to further the cause of destroying good moral values and the family. These things have led to people taking up causes that go against the values on which America was built on. Violence does beget violence but true love and understanding begets peace.
The next grouping is the physical side of living. Our bodies, though made of flesh, are special and uniquely made. They are not meant for others to view over the internet or be paraded on stages or screens. Abstain From Fleshly And Bodily Lusts. There is it folks- oversexualization of the human body leads to disobedience of the Commandments and total misuse can lead to physical and eternal death.
When someone strikes you or verbally abuses you stand up for yourself, do not let them see your actions as weakness but strength by standing firm. They will get their due. Do not give into your own anger and strike back but kill the individual with God’s love and forgiveness. When we are given a task don’t just do the mission and say it is complete, do more than required because God never stopped with us after creation. Material things should have no high place in the movement of our lives, if someone is in need and you have extra, give all you can, do not hoard things because you will only cause yourself calamity when many are in need and know that you have more than enough.
Giving is Good, Recieving for Purposes that are not your true needs, BAD
Giving of yourself and your material goods is one of the many other things God desires of us. However, remember this if you are on the receiving side, you best have actual need or when you are discovered you will face the consequences of your thievery. Those in need will have blessings bestowed but those who are greedy will live destitute and faithless in the long run. Be aware of where and to whom the material things and funds are given. We have seen this with the recent disasters as misfortunes where people are asking for donations so they can help and instead pocket it. The sympathies of people when a situation hits a family are one thing but to ask for funds when all things are already being provided for is theft.
Brothers and Sisters, this first part of the Didache tells us to be watchful and diligent in staying in the Word. The basics on the greatest commandment and living a Christ like life are only the beginning of these teachings. Keep with me as we continue to move forward and learn what could be the first missions directives and pamphlet on Christian living,
*The Didache is in the public domain.