Reading: Acts 2. 42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This passage seems to present an ideal which is far from what we experience in our congregation today. This model of community, fellowship and service is perhaps not realistic in our context. In a sense, it sounds like a story of a ‘model church’, the best example of a successful church, as is said ‘their number grew and grew every day.’ Yet, it helps us to focus our attention on how our daily lives may better reflect the genuine discipleship in this 21st century. In these short verses, we cannot find any particular rules, regulations or structures for Christian living, but it clearly shows us a picture of how the life of a Christian community, the Church, can reflect the glory of God which was proclaimed through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
In this respect, it is interesting to see that their principle was rather simple. They just fully committed themselves to the church. The church was not just part of their life. It was their whole life. It may sound a bit radical, but it seems that they just followed what they were told to do, that is, learning from the apostles, enjoying the fellowship, sharing the meal, and praying together every day. Actually, all they did, doesn’t look any special. Those are all we are supposed to do as Christians. But, how much do you spend your time on reading or learning the Scriptures. According to a survey, only 27% of churchgoers read the bible during the week. And, we see how generously they shared with one another. It says, “They were together and had everything in common”. Even further than that, ‘they sold their possessions and goods, and they gave to anyone as he had need’. I wonder how we can follow this example. But, the point is their selflessness, and caring hearts to help one another in any possible way. And, interestingly, in this short passage, we see, ‘breaking bread’ is mentioned twice. That shows how important it is to have a meal together in the church life, not only in a sacramental way, but also in an ordinary way. It is so important to have a table fellowship generously and cheerfully. We see, all these elements are very basic. But, the point is they devoted themselves fully to these activities: learning, sharing, praying, and breaking bread together, as they knew that those were the best way of following Jesus, the Way. It is challenging, perhaps more challenging to us, especially as we are in lockdown and not allowed to have any form of social gathering. However, we may need to get aware that these basic elements can be practiced differently in this unusual context and may be exercised more in a completely new setup, with more prayers and supports. It still challenges us to check our commitment to these elements. Amen.
Let us pray.
Lord our God, draw us together, although we are not able to get together physically. Help us to be united in faith, love, and purpose, and with Christ and one another, having the same mind among us and same goal: to seek your kingdom and do your will. Teach us what it means to be your children, your people, your family, and challenge us to commit ourselves fully to the community we belong to. Amen.