“The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. All the believers were united and shared everything. They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
Dear St. Lukers,
Today I have spent the entire day interviewing those in ministry in our district who were seeking renewal of licensing, recertification of candidacy, and beginning to write their paperwork to move toward ordination. As the leader of our small group of the committee, I got to ask the same first question of everyone, “how are you handling ministry in the midst of this pandemic.” While there was shared concerned and worry about members of one another’s communities, worry about finances and what’s next, there was a unanimous sentiment that the Holy Spirit was moving to help community flourish in powerful ways.
The same is true for St. Luke’s. We are worried for our friends and loved ones who are in the hospital or diagnosed, many of you have lost loved ones already whom you cannot get to or be with family to mourn, many of you are uncertain about your financial futures – in fact more of you are in these numbers than many would even be able to have guessed. For some who haven’t been personally touched by these facts of this pandemic and wonder if this is all just in the news or in other states, you may be surprised at the amount of worry, grief, and fear right here in our own church and community.
And yet, God is also on the move. The power of the Holy Spirit is drawing people closer in relationships to God and to one another. We are remembering what it means to have a focused life, much like that of the early church who often had to worship in homes, hidden away. Worship, teachings of Christ, prayer, servanthood and table fellowship all looks different now, but each, as we all are finding, have become critical in our lives. God is redefining faith, spiritual disciplines and church in the midst of the darkness, because as Easter teaches, God does some of the best work in the dark.
This week we focus on Shared Love as those on the Emmaus Road give their eyewitness account to the presence of Jesus, and we see shared love in the witness of the early church. We invite you to study not only this Scripture from Acts, but from Luke 24:13-35. Ask yourselves during your time of Scripture study and devotion, what has become essential for you in your faith walk during this time, and how has the church met you with the presence of Christ. What will you continue to keep as a priority when the dust settles and life and your calendar demand other things?
This Sunday, we will gather around the virtual table together during worship to celebrate the sacrament of communion. We invite you to gather at your own table, the place where you share bread and cup with family and friends, the place where you find sustaining nourishment through food and fellowship. While not our usual practice, because of our circumstances we will be honoring the “realness” of virtual community, and Christ’s real presence with and among us all through the ritual of Holy Communion. To prepare, you will want to have some sort of bread or cracker, as well as juice available at your table. If grape juice isn’t something you have on hand, simply use water. Remember, water was the means of many of Jesus’ miracles. Why not set these elements along with a candle, and anything else that signifies the essential community we share as people whom Jesus walks among, and reveals love in our shared life, even six feet or more apart.
Can’t wait to “see” you in the comment section of worship.
Grace, peace, health, and love,