S (Scripture): Acts 2:42 They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 2:43 Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles. 2:44 All who believed were together and held everything in common, 2:45 and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need.
O (Observation): What a strange situation. People are sharing things as communal property. They are coming together to break bread (whether as an act of worship or fellowship). They are forming a community in which relationships and the needs of the community rise above the selfish desires of individuals.
A (Application): Over the years, people have tried to form utopian societies, societies that have tried to mimic what’s going on in Acts 2. They have failed…but hope is not lost. I think those earlier societies went too far…thinking they could actually be heaven on earth.
I will say that our greatest difficulty (and that of those really utopian societies) is that we face the rampant sin that is individualism (or selfishness). In fact, one definition of sin, shared by Martin Luther and others, is “turning inward on one’s self.”
Even the gift of baptism has become a “me and Jesus” kind of thing – I’m baptized, I’m saved, I don’t have anything to worry about. Is that how Jesus taught us? No!
Jesus spent time with God. Jesus spent time with the disciples, teaching. Jesus spent time in the community, healing and spreading God’s love. Our baptism calls us to live into this threefold set of relationships : with God, with other disciples, and with those who are outside of our faith community.
As we move forward, I see lots of opportunities all around us. Do you know your neighbors next door? What about your cubicle neighbor at work? How about the parents of your child’s teammates or band mates? These are simple places to start building relationships.
Does the faith community where you worship strive for an Acts 2 community? What do you think might be some good first steps?
P (Prayer): Lord, you call us out of the sin of selfishness, and to become generous. You give us hearts yearning for unity. You have ushered us into your family in baptism. Help us to see how we can aid one another in times of plenty and in times of want. Amen.
P.s. The modern-day movement of a striving for community as in Acts 2 comes in what many are calling missional communities. Here is a 15-minute video describing how one such missional community defines itself. They call their faith community, “Soma.” (That’s the Greek word for “body.”) Note the goal to gather and equip, in order to be sent. It’s growth by multiplication, not addition!!!