Consider unity

Daily Reading for February 23 • Polycarp, Bishop and Marytr of Smyrna, 156

Ignatius, who is also called God-bearer, to Polycarp, bishop of the church of the Smyrnaeans—rather, the one who has God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as his bishop. Warmest greetings.

I welcome your godly way of thinking, which is fixed firmly as upon an unmoveable rock; and I exult all the more, having been found worthy of your blameless face. I hope to enjoy it in God! But I urge you by the gracious gift with which you are clothed, to forge ahead in your race and urge all to be saved. Vindicate your position with all fleshly and spiritual diligence. Consider unity, for nothing is better. Bear with all people, just as the Lord bears with you. Tolerate everyone in love, just as you are already doing. Be assiduous in constant prayers; ask for greater understanding than you have. Be alert, as one who has obtained a spirit that never slumbers. Speak to each one according to God’s own character. Bear the illnesses of all as a perfect athlete. Where there is more toil, there is great gain.

From “The Letter of Ignatius to Polycarp,” quoted in The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader by Bart D. Ehrman (Oxford University Press, 2004).

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