The first lesson for this coming Sunday is from the Acts of the Apostles 2:42 – 47. The passage begins like this: “Those who had been baptized devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
It seems to me that what we have in the passage is a very small window into the life of the early church. These are the elements that were important to the earliest members of the community that gathered in the name of Jesus Christ following his death and resurrection. They gathered together and listened to the teachings of the apostles, they were in fellowship with each other, and they broke bread together and prayed as a group. Now, two thousand years later, these words echo the core of what it means to follow Jesus. We gather in worship week by week to listen to the apostles teaching, to be in fellowship with one another, to share the body and blood of Christ and to pray for the needs of the community and for the world. Sure, we dress up things and we have to manage land and property. Sure, we fight and fuss with each other. Sure we are still stumbling as we make our way toward the holy reign of God. But at core we are a people claimed by God and living in service to the world.
As leaders of this community, both lay and ordained, we have a responsibility to strive to live into the covenant we made at baptism and reaffirmed in confirmation. This is a call to, “Live no longer for ourselves alone but for him who died for us and rose again.” This is not an easy path and it requires sacrifice on the part of everyone. We are called to love one another and to forgive one another, to seek reconciliation and to serve the common good of the world.
As you attend church in your community this week ask yourself how you can best follow in the way of Jesus in the place where you reside. Listen carefully to the words of Scripture and be in fellowship with those who have also been called as disciples of the Lord. This is a wonderful fellowship of love and prayer here in the Diocese of Oregon and I am blessed to be a small part of it.