43 Everyone was amazed at what God was doing. They were amazed when the apostles performed many wonders and signs. 44 All the believers were together. They shared everything they had. 45 They sold property and other things they owned. They gave to anyone who needed something. 46 Every day they met together in the temple courtyard. They ate meals together in their homes. Their hearts were glad and sincere. 47 They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
This passage follows Peter’s powerful preaching of a break out message catalysed in the wake of the Holy Spirit’s dramatic arrival at Penetecost. A summary of sorts, it captures the impact of the shockwaves that rock and form the renewed community of Jesus followers: a radical family marked by unprecedented patterns of behaviour. Living in togetherness, sharing common property, attentive to the most needy in the group, regularly gathered for worship and prayer, devoted to their leaders, in each others houses like kin – taking meals and enjoying each others’ company.
Despite being distant from us by centuries of history, our church resonates with the same frequency as the churches of Acts – we share with one another, we care for one another. We look out for those that are struggling, we do what it takes to help. We eat together just as we worship together, pray together, live together and laugh together.
This pattern will be consistent with our experience depending only on our willingness to attempt to replicate it. I am challenged: how far am I willing to go for the radical impact of the Holy Spirit to persist in my part of the communal life? How generously do I respond to the needs of my sisters and brothers? How much do I look forward to breaking bread and praying with others? How deeply am I convinced that this larger family I am grafted into is the best thing on earth?
Lord, thank you for your community that surrounds me and draws me deeper into a life of sharing, blessing, worshipping and enjoyment! Help me to be unafraid to open up more in this community, to care more for this family, to sow more into the those that are in need nearby. Jesus, grant me the presence of mind to vividly connect the story of the Acts Christian Community to my participation in the Church community now.
Written by Sam Stewart