Scripture: Acts 2:36-47
Key verse: (42) “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers”
Reflection: I will never forget the conversation I had one morning over coffee with a potential new member at a former church. Like most people these days, she’d had a variety of experiences with the church, as well as several seasons of life marked by absence from church. She was attracted to our traditional Presbyterian worship style and encouraged by the warmth of the congregation, but was having trouble getting on board with saying the Apostles’ Creed every week in worship. This was because she did not fully understand what it meant to confess that Jesus “descended into hell.”
We had an interesting conversation from there. To me, the line highlights the unwavering love of Christ, who walks with us in all circumstances – even and especially those times in life that feel godforsaken. That, even there, when we do not see or sense God at work, we confess that God is present. This is hard to do when you’re the person experiencing one of those times. But, to me, there is something powerful about hearing the community around you confess this in worship, even when you cannot. When there are things we cannot believe for ourselves, our community steps in our behalf.
That is the power of being part of a community of faith. We are drawn together by the risen Christ to proclaim good news to a hurting world. Sometimes, that means claiming it for those who sit just down the pew who cannot claim it for themselves. In our individualistic society, we are taught that it is virtuous to “go it alone,” but life itself teaches us another lesson: we need each other to get by. Being part of a faith family means we are buoyed by the faith of others. We rely on one another. We care for one another. We hold faith for one another.
None of us can -nor are any of us called to – go it alone. In these weeks after Easter, how might you recommit to fellowship with others, trusting that there is blessing to be found in sharing life with others? How might you engage your faith with other people? Is there a group you’ve been thinking about joining – or starting? Is there someone who would appreciate a visit? Do you find yourself in a season where you might benefit from the support of others? Keep your eyes and ears open! There are so many ways to do this at MPPC and beyond – and, indeed, it is part of our common calling.
Prayer: Dear God, when I am tempted to try to live by my own strength, challenge me to reach out to others. When I have become so cozy with my own opinions that I haven’t heard another one expressed lately, help me to seek out diverse community. When I am not sure how, or where, I fit, give me the courage to recommit to something that has brought me life – or to explore new ways of engaging my brothers and sisters in faith. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].