"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. " Acts 2:42
I love this picture of the early church. Following Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Spirit group of people are born, outcasts on the edge of society, living a radical different lifestyle.
These outcasts were devoted to teaching (learning about Jesus), fellowship (communion, joint participation), the Lord’s supper, prayer.
They were part of a new, never seen before Jesus movement. Can you imagine the excitement? The fear? The awe? These early believers had discovered a new life and they were clinging to it with everything they had. Including their lives.
I think we’ve lost this intensity for the church, this fervency that was demonstrated in the early church. Maybe in regions where Christians are persecuted they still have it. But here?
Too often in the west we’re apathetic about our faith, take it for granted, lazy about our fellowship.
What does devoted mean? It means to give all or most of one's time or resources. The early believers were devoted to Jesus and each other.
How can we regain some of that intensity? That fervour for both Jesus and the Church?
I think it comes down to realising our need and our part. Fellowship means joint participation. We need each other. We need other believers to help us pursue God, to keep us encouraged and inspired. We also need to be that for others. It is joint participation!
I know I need the church. The church is my family, in a way my family of origin has never been. I need the old people, the ladies my age, the teenagers and the babies. My life is so much richer for serving and being served.
And the blessing the church is when everyone is engaged, participating, giving of their time and resources . . . Well the gates of hell shall not prevail.
-Erica Noonan -