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 4:32-37 the Christians were remarkably unfiied. They were of one heart, one mind, and they were selling their property as needed to help those who were not as fortunate. This is an excellent picture of Christian unity. It’s one that we would do well to emulate. We think, deep down inside, that if we would just share with one another and try to be more unified, God would do great things and change the world.
This is a grand idea, but it is not supported by the data. Why not? Verse 33 gives us the key to the entire work of the early Christians. The apostles were bearing witness to the resurrecti onof Jesus. They were doing this with great power.
Our works of mercy, our charity, our attempts to get along with others, all this will never change our world. It may have some helpful effects for a little while. But it will never lead to the fullness of the work of the Gospel. What do we need to do? We need to shift our focus from what we do to what Jesus has done. When we bear witness to Christ’s victory over death we lead people to understand their temporal comfort as just that - temporal. It will not last forever. When we are able to share with others in need, as we realize the power of the resurrection, we are much more ready to do something about our neighbor’s need. Our charity is motivated not by a law which commands us to help one another. It is motivated rather by the Gospel which says Jesus has already cared for us. This message will empower the body of Christ to make a difference in the world.
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