The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Acts 2:42-48 the lifestyle of the earliest Christians is described. We do well to recognize that these several thousand Christians are taking on a distinctive lifestyle from the very start. It is clearly built on Jewish tradition. There are the expected elements - teaching, prayers, caring for one another. However, there are some elements which show the Christians to be very different from their Jewish roots. The apostles are doing miracles. This was not expected within Jewish thought. Rather than bringing money to the temple and allowing the priests to distribute it to the needy, the Christians are directly helping one another. They are sharing their possessions and the things they can make and sell with all who are in need. This isn’t a communist redistribution of wealth. It’s voluntary and seems to recognize that the people will meet one another’s needs but not strive for across-the-board equality. But the essential element of Christians caring for other Christians is one we cannot miss.
The care the Christians are showing for one another brings joy and confidence to them. It also seems to draw others to them. The Lord is saving more people day by day. Sadly, in much of modern Christianity, the Church has a reputation for being a place of hostility, judgment, and selfishness. At times it may has deserved that reputation. I’d like to think, though, that if people would open their eyes and try to understand the concern Christians have for eternal matters over timely matters, and the fact that judgment of something as wrong is intended to lead toward forgiveness and change, a lot of people would find themselves in the same joy the first disciples had. We can always hope.
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