Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2020
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Something to Do
Glad and Generous Hearts
The vision of the earliest community of Christians is so beautiful – people gathering together with joy and love to worship and study and take care of one another. It is the vision we have for own communities, too, even if we sometimes also squabble or worry more about ourselves than other people. And these days, we miss being together whether happy or grumpy – but we can still have glad and generous hearts when we hold one another close in Spirit.
Reach out to someone in your church family. Send an email or make a phone call or – gasp – send a letter. If there is someone you would like to contact but you don’t know how, contact the office or your priest to pass on your message. Gladden someone else’s heart and find your own heart gladdened in the process.
Glad and generous hearts
There are people in the community who are experiencing real difficulty right now. If you are able, offer some of what you have to help by making a donation. Some possible options:
Something to Wonder
Awe came upon everyone
The life of this community can be counted as one of (perhaps even the greatest) of the signs and wonders performed by the apostles in the power of the Spirit. We know that it cannot simply be the work of people – and we know that it doesn’t last in quite such a perfect form (just read Paul’s letters!).
- What do you imagine it would have been like to be part of it, for however long it lasted?
- What parts of it sounds wonderful to you? What parts sound less so?
What would your ideal community of the Spirit involve? What aspects of that dream can you work towards?
Something to Learn
Utopias & Intentional Communities
There is a long and ongoing tradition of Christians seeking to create communities that live up to the vision of the Gospel. This collection of articles includes historical overviews and reflections from both historical and current members of intentional communities.
Utopia: Nine of the most miserable attempts to create idealized societies from The Independent
“…some “intentional communities”, as those who study them like to call them, have flourished. But here are a few, imagined and historical, that show how acting on a dream can sometimes land you in a nightmare.”
The Return of the Utopians from The New Yorker
“Contradiction and hypocrisy have always hovered over the utopian project, shadowing its promise of a better world with the sordid realities of human nature. ”
A How-to for Intentional Christian Community A Q&A with David Janzen
“The Holy Spirit is using the longing for community that is universal in human beings, along with the specific cultural forces in our time to call people to this more intentional way of community life as disciples of Jesus.”
Living in Community A collection of essays on Plough, the publishing arm of one of the oldest intentional community networks, Bruderhof.
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.