When we turn the last page of the New Testament and move from the biblical era to the early Christian period, the next page in the book of history is not blank. The first page of the Didache reads thus…
“The path of life is this–first, thou shalt love the God who made thee, thy neighbor as thyself, and all other things that thou wouldst not should be done unto thee, do not thou unto another” (1:2).
In other words, the first thing the early Christians wanted to base their faith on was the very thing Jesus said everything hangs on–the two great commandments–the way of love. And they made it clear that love is the path of life.
Putting ourselves in the shoes of these early Christians, we remember that they had come to realize the return of Christ was not going to happen as quickly as some had originally thought. They understood that the faith had to be passed on, but in ways that would not only perpetuate it, but also keep the succeeding Christians ready to receive Jesus whenever he came back.
When they decided how to do this, they chose the way of love–to describe the essence of faith, the path of life, and the disposition of our hearts to be ready for Christ’s return. We are now twenty centuries beyond the days of The Didache, entering into the twenty-first century, and like all Christians before us, still seeking to live in a way that expresses faith, embodies expectancy, and enables to live in ways that will cause Jesus to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”.
We have our marching orders, now as then, in the way of love.