By Carol Becwar
Being toward the introverted end of the spectrum, I struggle at times to figure out how I will fit into an unfamiliar group. So I have a soft spot in my heart for the new person. Sometimes a connection seems natural, but other times it takes a while to find commonalities that lead to friendship.
The world often discourages real connection between people. Electronic media, the chaos of family life, careers, and the pursuit of happiness can exhaust and isolate us, hindering the formation of meaningful relationships.
Yet, here is what Luke tells us about the newly established church:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2: 42-47
I've read this passage many times, but today it's importance strikes me in ways it hasn't in the past. God isn't asking us to solve the problems of a sinful world. He is commanding us to embrace each other in self-sacrificing love. To welcome the disenfranchised into the family. To go forward as sisters and brothers to build a safe haven for the heart and soul of each believer and seeker. To make ourselves accountable to the community of believers.
In our culture, personal desires for comfort and success, and the appeal of modern electronic communication, discourage opening ourselves to others on a personal level. We are naturally self-centered, but we are called to stop acting naturally! Join me in praying that the church will be an oasis of generosity and love. Dig deep into the New Testament writings and emulate the behavior of those early believers. Then the church will be a true home to everyone, a place where fellowship and spiritual renewal are hard to miss. The most introverted, distracted, and tired people can find joy and rest in the church they call home.