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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2019
(Part 29)

THE FIRST CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

April 30, 2019
Today’s reading: Acts 4:32-37

The first Christian community established on the day of Pentecost, led by the apostles, was a powerful witnessing community. “With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (v.33a). People could see how they acted and related with one another, “and great favor was accorded them all.” (v.33b). What were the vital elements of their witness?

The first element is unity of heart and mind. “The community of believers was of one heart and mind” (v.32a). Through formation by the apostles and enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, they took on the mind and heart of Jesus. They were disciples of Jesus, and they acted in obedience to the one Master.

The second element, proceeding from the first, is stewardship, as “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” (v.32b). They understood that everything belonged to God, and that what they called “theirs” was really God’s. As such, they looked to God to direct them in the use or disposition of their personal resources. These were to be used for the good of the brethren and the community.

The third element, proceeding from the second, is care for those in need. They realized God’s love and preference for the poor, and their responsibility to care for those in need. The result? “There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.” (v.34-35).

The first Christian community was a family! They knew they were children of the Father and brothers of Jesus. They knew they belonged to one larger family that had everything in common. They knew they were their brothers’ keepers, giving particular care and concern for the least among them. As such, they bore powerful witness to others, by how they related to one another, enabling them to accomplish their mission.

The first Christian community was a family on mission! May we be likewise.

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