Acts 2:42-47 NRSV
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
This past week has been filled with little moments of encouragement. By themselves, tiny. Like if a bunch of people each gave you a few beans. Each gift, by itself, wouldn't be enough to do anything, but put it together, a meal can be made. (Like the story of Stone Soup.) For me, it all adds up to: Hang in there!
Now "Hang in there" is not to literally dangle like a kitty from a rope. It's an English phrase meaning, keep trying. Don't give up.
I have two children, and one is still a toddler. Sometimes my illustrations are pulled from the simplicity of day time kid shows. If you are like me, click the above picture and enjoy the link to Yo Gabba Gabba. If you don't, the picture gets the point across and you can simply continue reading.
What if I were to tell you there's a phrase in our scripture today, in Acts, that we may take too literally? The phrase in question is, "all things in common." A misconception is the early Christians gave up ownership of everything and redistributed the goods. Yes, they were generous, selling their possessions and goods and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. However, their generosity did not come from being forced to give up their possessions first.
In the early Christian, Greco-Roman world keeping things in common was a phrase to describe a profound friendship. It was a phrase to describe a shared set core-values and a deep respect for ones spiritual and physical well being. *
In other words, these people understood and loved one another so much, their relationship was worth more than their possessions. This is church; this is true fellowship. It's about the people.
So what is the point? If you are jaded or wounded by a church experience, don't give up. Hang in there. Real fellowship doesn't hurt. Living out church, really living it out, is really communal, were the people have a deep and profound friendship with one another. Maybe we just need to start here at Fig Tree.
* NIB Volume X
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