One of the favorite passages from the book of Acts is the second chapter, specifically the last verses which describes what the church was.
So what was that early church like? Following the coming of the Holy Spirit, it says that people were amazed and filled with awe at all that was happening in through the followers of Jesus. It says that the believers were in harmony with each other, holding everything in common, even selling what they had so that "each person's need was met." Followers followed a daily discipline of prayer and worship. They came together for common meals and joy was the mark of the church.
Is that a description of the 21st century church? Your church? The church at its best? Have you experienced in this regard?
We'd all like to be a part of a church like Acts 2, but it's a utopia unless we are also living and doing what what those first followers were doing. Did you know that the word utopia means 'no place'? Acts 2 is a utopia unless we are living like those early followers. We all want to go to an Acts 2 church but without us there's no there there! It doesn't exist as an ideal place; it's a place that we're called to create. We need to make Acts 2 incarnational, in and through us. It will be less than perfect and less than fully Acts 2 but it needs to be our simple model of what it means to be church.
Acts 2 is a mirror to hold up to what we are as the church today. At our best, where do we demonstrate this palpable sense of God's presence through awe and wonder in our daily living? Where and how do we seek to live in harmony? Where and how are we willing to give for the good of all, much less even sell what we have to make sure that there is an elimination of poverty in our communities? Where have we become intentional as individuals as well as a congregations to follow a daily discipline of prayer, worship and study?
When you break it down--this description of a seemingly utopian community--there are practices that make an Acts 2 church; a real, flesh-and-blood community of faith in any place and time. So the question is: what are we as individuals--clergy and laity--willing to do and be willing to change in our lives to be an Acts 2 church?
Yes, I want to be a part of an Acts 2 church, but it doesn't just happen; it happens because the Spirit changes me to be an Acts 2 church. Where do we see this Acts 2 church lived out that gives us all inspiration to allow the Spirit to change us?
I look forward to your insights! WDYT?