Life in community

Acts 2:42-47, Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31


Here it is after Easter, all the hoopla is fading. Chocolate bunnies are half price, and Peeps are growing more and more scarce as the hoarders sweep them up. Many of those who have led the busy past week of worship and contemplation are taking it easy this week, because the Sunday after Easter is always about Thomas. Or at least you would be led to believe. Indeed, the Gospel text for this week is the story of Thomas, saying out loud what everyone else, even Peter, dared only imagine. “How will we know?” It’s a question that looms in many hearts and minds even today.

The thread I find in these passages is one of community. Living together under God’s care and the care of one another. Although the Psalm and the New Testament text echo this, nowhere in the Bible can it be made any more clear than in this text from the second chapter of Acts. Granted all too often we claim this idyllic scene is the way that we are supposed to be living. But I suspect that this is a snapshot, a captured moment in time, that was just that; a moment in time. This is the way things might ought to be, but the Bible reveals to us all to often that we as humans were consistent in not being the way we ought to be.

Now I don’t want to champion selling all our worldly goods and let’s all live together as one big happy family. First, I am almost certain that “one big happy family” is the television equivalent of a fairy tale. Secondly, being the person who recites sell all you have, gets you crucified. But I also don’t want to be the person that overlooks the value of these elements. There are scores of monastic men and women who have committed themselves to community, who share resources and work together. And they will tell you often it is far, far from the depiction of Acts 2. I have lived for brief times in community, sharing bedroom space with 4 other women, toilet and showering opportunities with 15 other people, and dining space with 60 others. I survived. I enjoyed. Not sure I want that to be permanent.

But for me the beauty of being Christian is the community that we share, even when we aren’t all living together. I loved that after my father’s death my community provided me with so much food and support that a rule of the house became if you entered, you left with a dozen chicken tenders. I love that random children come up an hug me, in the mall, on the street, because I am the one that talks with them on Sunday. I love that when anything, ANYTHING, goes wrong, ANYWHERE, the first response of the people I spend time with is what can we do.

That’s what Acts 2 is about, not the ideal, but the life of care that Jesus commanded us to. The root that connects us all to one another, no matter how far afield we may wander. The thin place is the place where we all gather together and find God already waiting.



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