This morning’s Scripture offers us a snapshot of the early church – in those first days after Resurrection. The followers of Jesus – they’ve traveled with Jesus throughout his ministry. Jesus loved them, he taught them, he healed them. Jesus spoke truth to power, and he was arrested, and crucified. And on the third day, they experienced the Risen Christ – and the power of Resurrection Life.
And then 50 days after that, the Spirit has come to them at Pentecost – empowering them to see visions, and dream dreams. In this snapshot, just days just after that – in their bewildering world – they continue to gather behind closed doors– now in their homes – now enlivened by the Spirit of the Risen Christ – figuring out how to live life in community.
This snapshot gives us a glimpse of that.
And what a glimpse it is. They gather in their homes and break bread together. They pray together – they persevere in the teachings they received from Jesus. They live out signs and wonders that have the world around them amazed. They share everything in common – including their property, their means of survival. When someone has a need, they sell what they own to meet the need. They praise God, and they enjoy the favor of all people – day by day, welcoming more people to the table – every day drawing the circle wider still.
It is a lovely snapshot of their life together – in those hard days. It’s almost... too good to be true. I mean, they sold what they had, whenever anyone had a need... Did it really happen like that?
But you know what? As soon as that question comes to me – did it really happen like that?I just don’t think that question matters all that much. I don’t need to know the answer to that question. This story that they told is true in a way that is so much more important than that.
At some point – years after all this – they looked back – and wrote these stories down – they said to each other and to the world – do you remember – this is what life was like. We could think of the whole of Scripture as a photo album– each story a snapshot – with our ancient siblings in the faith saying to us – this is what life was like – with God and with each other. This is what life was like.
These stories convey to us some powerful memory – some powerful memory of a powerful experience that these sisters and brothers – these siblings of ours – lived out – and clung to – and told again and again and again – about how they experienced Jesus in flesh and bone, and then about how they experienced Jesus in each other – and they wrote these stories down – and then sent them down to us, over the centuries. And we tell them now.
These stories that they told – the stories that we tell –
they are part memory – and part hope.