8 May 2017Acts 4:32-35
“Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.” (v. 32)
Psalm: Psalm 149:1-5
Jesus' followers tried to work out what it would mean to keep his memory alive. They met in each other's homes, they ate together, they ensured that all had according to their need. "Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common."
We forget where we have come from. If we could remember, that is re-member, put back together, what challenged those first disciples to follow, to question, to doubt and deny, to run when they were needed most, we might not sit so comfortably in church, nor in the society of which we are a part.
Jesus mixed with and upheld those on the edge of society. When he was called to go to heal the daughter of the leader of a synagogue he stopped to talk to a woman who was considered unclean, but who was, in fact, ill (Mark 5:21-43). He railed against those who put religion ahead of compassion. He knew what the government required, when shown a coin, said they should receive it, but implied that God required something completely different, something more (Mark 12:13-17).
The one we follow stood against religious and imperial tyranny, ultimately dying rather than deny love for anyone. He was killed on a cross by an unholy alliance of state and religion. The spirit of love, God if you like, that he embodied would not go away, did not die.
The first Christians were trying to work out how to keep that love alive.
A lot is being said about Methodism being "a discipleship movement shaped for mission". If being a disciple means learning to be like a teacher, being learners, then I sense we have a long way to go. The question that faced those first Christians now faces us. How do we keep love alive?
- What choice do you think Jesus would make confronted by the needs of the poor over against the wealth of the rich?
- What choice do you think Jesus would make if he heard about healthcare being rationed, of children getting meningitis when inoculation might prevent it, while it is said, it costs too much?