Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:42-47: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Summary – Following the blessing of the first fulfilled Pentecost in which over three thousand men were converted, we now have a summary of the life of this Pentecost church in Jerusalem. There are several features of their life together highlighted by Luke: Apostles teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers. Their life together was a community of Word and Sacrament which yielded the fruit of sharing in order to meet all needs.
Insight – Whereas last week, our reading from The Acts provided a wonderful summary of the gospel, this week, we find a golden summary of church life. There is a refreshing simplicity and balance to the picture of Christ’s Church in her infancy: doctrine and practice; body and soul; outward growth and inward unity. Here Luke seems to be bragging about the believers’ giving. Christ had taught them that no one would ever give up his family or land without receiving a hundred times back what he lost [Mt 19.29]. He also taught that true generosity occurs when gifts are given to those unable to ever repay [Lk 14.13]. Here is a beautiful portrait of what these things looks like “day by day”. Lastly, after recently having been challenged to eat as a Christian, what a great summary we have of just that idea in verse 46. They ate with “glad and generous hearts.” (Insight from Ben Rossell)
Child’s Catechism – To what should Christians devote themselves? To “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Discussion – In what ways can we work to help our church toward being more like this picture?
Prayer – Gracious Father it is You Who open Heaven to give rain, sun, and life. You give health and growth to the dust of the ground and our bodies that came from it. With these, Your good gifts, we make our bread, tables, and roofs. Put gladness and generosity in our hearts so that we will be like Your Son, by Whose willing poverty we have been made rich, and in Whose perfect name we pray, Amen.