Remember the good old days when Christians were all completely devoted to the apostles’ teachings? When they committed their time to eating with each other all the time and worshipped together and sold their possessions whenever someone in their midst needed some assistance. Remember when Christians shared everything in common and had glad and generous hearts? Remember that?
Me either, but whoever wrote Acts seems to recall this idyllic time, and “day by day,” it says, “the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
The “Acts 2 Church” as it is called (Google it) is to Christianity what the Garden of Eden is to all of creation. And like the Garden in Genesis, what follows the Acts 2 Church is a smack down of harsh reality on hopeful idealism.
Then again, the Acts 2 Church does seem to make sudden reappearances on occasion. Most movements, communities, and even churches experience it—there is often a time in the beginning of the life of any of these institutions that feels grassroots, organic, and refreshing and exciting. After a while, creeds sound stale, rituals become repetitive, and the places where we once found meaning suddenly leave us wanting another Acts 2 moment.
That’s why Batman and other superhero franchises only last for a few installments. Origin stories are more captivating than sequels; so every now and then someone comes along to reimagine what these characters and genres are all about (often after someone else has mucked it up). And thank God for that, because for every Schumacher there better be an equal and opposite Nolan.
The good news here then is that no matter how much we muck up the way we practice community and spirituality, we can always rediscover the One who calls us together, by name, into a beloved community. Additionally, we can learn from everything that happens after the Acts 2 moment, and instead of seeking spiritual highs for their own sake, we can seek to share with others, spend time together in worship, fellowship, and feasting, and we can do so with glad and generous hearts because we know that God’s Kingdom trumps any image of the good old days that we might be imagining.
The Rev’d Curtis Farr is the assistant rector of St. James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, Connecticut. He offers reflections on the lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday. His website is www.FatherFarr.com, and his Tumblr blog is www.BowingToMystery.com.
Photo: © 2011 Do-Hyun Kim, Flickr