“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many and wonders and signs were being done by the apostles” (Acts 2:42-43).
Faith comes most authentically, I think, when it is rooted in a primal experience of awe. The book of Acts is an account of how the earliest followers of Jesus were consumed by awe. They were discovering what it is to be the Body of Christ on earth, to be enlivened by Jesus’ Spirit, even as his physical presence was no longer with them. Like Jesus, the earliest Christ-followers performed miraculous healings, attended to the poor and oppressed, and enjoyed eating and praying together. They were filled with awe that Jesus’ Way, his way of being in the world, was possible for them in community together. This community created by people caught up in the Way was so powerful that it persevered despite violent persecutions and martyrdom. (In Sunday’s lessons, we read about Stephen, the Church’s first martyr.)
By living in Christian community, we prepare ourselves to experience the same awe and wonder as the first Christians. We need to spend time with one another—not only structured time, such as our worship services on Sundays and throughout the week or at committee meetings or formation opportunities, but also unstructured time, where the only “agenda” is being together (and maybe eating, because food often helps us come together). By spending time together, becoming known and knowing one another, miracles happen. We are given opportunities to share with one another, to practice generosity of spirit and money, to build up one another in love (1 Thessalonians 5:11). It is my prayer that the “Sharing Our Faith” event on May 15 will be encouraging and joyful for all who participate, and that the relationships begun or deepened that night might reverberate through our entire community. And those reverberations will bring us a few steps deeper into the Way that is the Body of Christ on earth…the Way that is you and me together, growing in love.
The Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector