Wednesday, March 03, 2010

They lived in wonderful harmony

They lived in wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold what they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.
People in general liked what they saw.

It sounds idyllic, doesn't it? You'd never guess that the author is talking about a church.

But that's because the author is Luke, of gospel fame, and he's writing about the first Christian church.

The first believers devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles - who had it straight from the mouth of Jesus - living, eating and praying together. In The Message version of the Bible it says, 'every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.' It goes on to say, 'Every day their number grew ...'

How very far from the first idea of church have we come? And what a challenge it is. The list of things the believers did doesn't include going out and preaching at people, warning them of the hell fire that they're headed for; rather people went to the believers because they liked what they saw.

In many ways it's easier to preach at someone than to live a life that says Jesus, a life of love, forgiveness, compassion, a life that includes the excluded, that sacrifices. That's hard but it's what we're called to do.

We're looking at the Book of Acts in our current bible study in Zac's and this was the bit we looked at last night. Just five verses. Initially I thought, 'we can't get much from five verses, and verses, at that, which just talk of everyday life rather than amazing miracles or wonderful happenings.'

How wrong I was.

And if anywhere comes close to that ideal of church then it's Zac's. Looking around the group, after the 'formal' (ha ha) study bit, when this incredible diversity of people are all enjoying each other's company, drinking coffee, eating (fairtrade!) cookies, and talking meaningfully together, I get a tiny glimpse of what it must have been like back then. When people flocked to church 'because they liked what they saw.'


Furtheron said...

sounds like communism

Often thought that the early churches teachings were probably closer to socialism and communism than to capatalism... good job I don't live in some parts of the world thinking like that'd get me locked up

Leslie: said...

I would love Zac's, from what I read here. I'd like it even more than going to Sunday service.