Thursday, May 19, 2011

Church: First Century and Twenty-first Century Part 2

On Tuesday, we looked at the first two things to which the church in Acts 2 was devoted. To sum up, the early believers were committed to Jesus Christ and to each other. Today, I want to discuss the other two things that had the church's devotion.

The Christians in the first days of the Church were devoted to the breaking of bread, according to Acts 2. Breaking bread meant something far greater than taking communion together, especially the way it is done in many churches today. I believe that this goes along with fellowship. In those times, to break bread with someone meant to share a meal with them. Sharing a meal meant that person was accepted as an equal, as someone who was valued. When the Apostle Paul gives his instructions concerning the Lord's Supper, he is talking about more than just passing a few crackers and cups of grape juice around. The early church met together for meals, and it seems that "communion" was a part of those meals (Someone who has more knowledge than I do can feel free to correct me). Table fellowship is an important part of living life together. It is around the table that conversation flows, and folks get to know each other. It is around the table that the relationships so vital to the body are formed and strengthened.

The last focus of the church was prayer. When the early church prayed in Acts 4, the place where they were was shaken. Their prayers shook buildings and empires. Today, we have reduced corporate prayer to something that happens on one night of the week or when there is an emergency situation. I wonder if one of the reasons we don't pray as a church is because we don't know each other. If we aren't devoted to the life together, we aren't going to feel comfortable letting each other know what our real needs are. So, our times of prayer as a body can tend to be very shallow. Our personal prayers for each other can also become flat, if we aren't able to be open and honest with each other. Prayer may be the single biggest thing missing in churches today. I think that lack may be tied to the lack of devotion to Christ and to each other.

A great deal of negative rumors were spread about the first Christians, but the one statement that no one could deny was, "Behold, how these Christians love one another." I pray that statement once again becomes the truest thing that people can say about us.

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