You have to feel sorry for the early church. As well as having to do business without the benefits of risk assessment and health and safety policies, they also had to manage without parochial church councils – all things that the Church of England takes for granted.
I was reminded all too forcibly of this when I received my (or someone else’s) copy of PCC News, the “newspaper for all PCC members to help support your church”. Newspapers are another thing the early church missed out on, by the way. Not to mention parish magazines.
The Church of England has it very easy really. It has Gift Aid, for instance, and we all know what fun that is – especially those who are unfortunate enough to be church treasurers. Judas would never have betrayed Jesus if he’d had Gift Aid. He would simply have run away.
The front page of PCC News this month is all about finding grants, which as we all know is literally hours – possibly days – of fun. And when you’ve found them, you have to bid for them, if you don’t have a nervous breakdown first. I tried to imagine James and John tackling this, but couldn’t. Matthew, perhaps.
It is hard to say what the most exhilarating part of being a Christian in the 21st century is, compared to the first century AD. Glancing at the headlines in PCC News, I suppose it may be “Authorised Lay Ministry: Volunteer’s and Employer’s Liability Insurance”, which would certainly tempt the average fisherman away from his boat and into discipleship like a shot.
Or maybe it’s the helpful “Flow chart: How to obtain faculty approval”. If only that had been around shortly after the Resurrection, things would have gone much more smoothly, and Christianity might have become really big.
And how much easier it would have been to arrange things like the feeding of the five thousand, walking on the water, the Transfiguration, the raising of Lazarus, the wedding at Cana and the Last Supper (bearing in mind the alcohol involved in these last two) – and indeed Christmas itself – if the key players had had access to an article on “Keeping the right side of the law when holding events”.
When you think about it, it’s amazing Christianity ever got off the ground, which brings me to the Ascension. They were lucky to get away with that.