Wednesday, May 5, 2010


What should the church do? In answer to this question, Acts 2:42-47 is often cited. Based on this descriptive passage of the post-Pentecost church in Jerusalem, activities such as teaching, worship in large settings, intimate gatherings in smaller groups, communion and prayer are cited. Certainly these activities, in some form, should mark the life of local Christ communities today.
But this passage offers more.
Recently I was reading Acts 2 again (How many times I've read this passage!), and for some reason I noticed words which described not what the church did, but the spirit which pervaded its life together. These words speak to the question: How did the church feel?--feel to those who were on the inside doing life together, and to those who are on the outside watching it all happen.
Three words caught my mind: awe, glad and sincere.
The people were filled with awe. They were in awe at how the risen Lord was working among them. Sick people were now well. Scoundrels and cheats had begun to live differently. Increasing numbers of people were turning to Jesus.
The people's hearts were glad. Life together overflowed with great joy. Optimism, laughter, and praise filled conversations and gatherings. Life was not always easy--but there was a sense that God is greater than anything life brings.
The people's hearts were also sincere. Today's emerging generation longs for authenticity. They hate masks and phoniness. To a remarkable degree, it seems that the early church was filled with people who were authentic. They were sincere in their commitment to God, and in their love for each other.
These words seem to reflect the overflow of the Holy Spirit in the Jerusalem church. Jesus might have said, "When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will live in awe, ooze gladness and walk in sincerity."
What would it be like to be part of a church which was overflowing with these qualities? I think it would feel pretty good.