An ideal church?
Today’s reading from Acts talks about the nature of community that existed in the early church. Apparently Biblical scholars do not agree. A reflection I read by Kathryn Matthews Huey, made these comments about the Acts reading:
“Is this description of the early Christian community, idealised or not? Does it matter? Long ago, in a far-off land, our ancestors in faith did the same things we do today, as communities of faith. At least, these are the things that we are called to do and to be about; these are the marks that identify us as distinctively Christian communities: devoting ourselves to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
It would not be difficult to draw the parallels between then and now, to pull out monthly newsletters from many churches today and find here, and there, the activities and programs by which we too strive to devote ourselves to study, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. This Bible study or adult education class or confirmation class or church school curriculum, that coffee hour or women’s gathering or youth group outing or film series, this weekly communion service or that opening prayer, that Sunday morning service of worship, that Taizé service, that prayer at the side of one who is dying…these are the embodiments and expressions of our own, idealised, shared life in faith.
What may be missing, too often, is not the teaching and learning, the fellowship, communion, or prayer: it may be the awe. The ‘wonders and signs’ may be passing us by, without our taking notice.”
One of the criticisms levelled at Christianity by many modern-day atheists is that our faith isn’t logical; that it doesn’t make sense. They see this as a flaw, and a reason to ridicule believers. However the thing about faith is that it doesn’t make sense, it is not based on what we can see or touch or work out logically, but rather is about the mystery of God. If we could explain everything about God and faith, God wouldn’t be God, but something less.
So, as we continue through the Easter season, let’s not lose our awe and wonder at the fact that God chose to take on human form and live among us, to suffer and die, and then overcome the power of death through the resurrection. Logical? No. Awesome? Yes!