PASTOR HUGO URCOLA, the distributor of El Aposento Alto (the Spanish edition of The Upper Room) in Argentina, was puzzled when Maria said to him, “I believe we are Methodists.” Hugo went on to find out that Maria worked on a farm whose owner was a Methodist woman. She gave copies of El Aposento Alto to Maria, who read it with her husband. Little by little Maria’s neighbors learned of their reading and wanted to join them, and a group began to read the Bible and study the meditations together.*
This story reminds me of the life of the Christian community after Pentecost (Acts 2:46-47). There were no denominations, no budget assigned, no ordained pastors. People convinced that something special had happened simply gathered to learn more. They were committed to the resurrected Christ and interested in growing in their faith together. The Christians practiced simple things: learning from the apostles; eating, praying, and worshiping together; and sharing all they had with “glad and sincere hearts.”
Consider the tremendous impact of this ancient community: From their simple practices, the Christian church grew. In the book On Our Way, Dorothy Bass suggests that to live a whole life we need to live “attentively … together, in the real world, … for the good of all, … in response to God.” For centuries Christians in many lands have rediscovered that we need to encourage all these practices in order to live fully as God’s children.
NOTE: Although The Upper Room (and thus El Aposento Alto has its roots in the Methodist Church (Mrs. Frances Craig and her 100-member Sunday school class at Travis Park United Methodist Church, San Antonio, Texas, were instrumental in beginning the daily devotional guide), the magazine is interdenominational, and it is published in 39 languages and goes to 100 countries.
The Upper Room, January/February 2011
“From the guest editorial by Carmen Gaud in The Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide, January–February 2011. Copyright © 2010 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission. The quotation is from On Our Way: Christian Practices for Living a Whole Life by Dorothy C. Bass and Susan Briehl. Copyright © 2010 by Dorothy C. Bass and Susan Briehl. All rights reserved. Quotation used by permission of Upper Room Books.
“http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
With whom could you share your devotional practices? Share your thoughts.
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1 NRSV
This Week: pray for those who have no place to live. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.
Did You Know?
Happy 75th anniversary, El Aposento Alto!
This year, the Spanish language edition of El Aposento Alto celebrates its 75th anniversary. Congratulate the editors and the community in the comment section on the web: http://elaposentoalto.upperroom.org/es.
This week we remember:
Basil the Blessed (August 2).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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