We are an Easter people. Your faith community is an Easter people. Together we make up the body of Christ, and we sense the Holy Spirit’s presence among us. We are members of the body—incomplete without one another and our gifts.
Consider the global church or the national church or simply your congregation. Is the whole group of those who believe of one heart and soul? Does anyone claim private ownership, keeping goods and resources and gifts from those in need? Are there any needy among you? Do any members lord their power, their wealth, their privilege, their position over others?
This vision of the early church feels far removed from church as we know it today. We experience discord, division, pettiness and politics, and any number of conflicts big and small. Yet Acts still speaks great truth to us.
This vision is not impossible. It is not a myth or a daydream or a wishful thought. It was the church. And we can see this early church in our churches, for we are still the church. We still hear powerful testimonies to the resurrection of Jesus, both from the apostles of ages past and from those disciples next to us in the pews. We still share our gifts and our resources. We still bring our whole hearts and selves to meet the needs of others. We are still an Easter people, and we have received a great grace.
How do you see this vision of the earliest church embodied today in your congregation? in the greater world? How can you help your community live into this vision?
Gracious God, grant me empathy for those who are not like me, and grant me patience with those whose experiences have not been like mine. Bring our hearts closer together through your Spirit. Amen.
Easter promises us the possibility of new life in Christ, but what should that life look like? Scripture makes clear that one sign of union with God is unity with each other. How wonderful it is, the psalmist says, when there is peace among brothers and sisters. Unity and peace do not mean simply the lack of conflict but proactive care for one another. The Christians in Acts lived out this care in a practical way by giving of their material means to help one another. John in his epistle tells us that this fellowship with one another is ultimately modeled on the fellowship we share with God and Christ, while in his Gospel, John teaches that belief in Jesus the Messiah is what binds us all together in this new life.
• Read Acts 4:32-35. In what ways have you experienced the generosity of community?
• Read Psalm 133. How and where do you experience the wild, extravagant love of God?
• Read 1 John 1:1–2:2. How do you keep ever before you the urgency and joy of Easter?
• Read John 20:19-31. What fears keep you locked away from the world?
Respond by posting a prayer.