I could not have imagined a better introduction to Acts than an all-fellowship retreat focused on community and the Holy Spirit. And, of course, I didn’t plan it. While I was working on our fall teaching series, a different group was finding an available date and location, planning communal meals, and praying about discussion topics.
Like fellow devout Jews in Jerusalem, Peter and the other followers of Jesus attended Shabbat services and went to the temple at appointed prayer times. But in their excitement about this new understanding of Hebrew scripture—explaining that Jesus as Messiah humbled himself so that God could raise him from the dead—getting together once a week was not nearly enough.
The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. Acts 2:42 (CEB)
Our retreat together echoed this devotion. Studying scripture, attending Sunday services, and spending time in prayer each day leaves us hungry for more. More time around the campfire singing songs and eating s’mores. More Greek chicken mysteriously marinated in yogurt and grilled to perfection. More glimpses of the image of God revealed in our fellow travelers on this journey of faith.
As we begin a new year together, we are excited for the work that God is doing, for new understanding of scripture, for increased devotion to community. As in Acts, each believer has a different role, something to contribute.
Who is your community? Why is eating together so powerful? How do we cook, serve, teach, learn, and pray together? What is your role as part of the body?
The sense of anticipation in Jerusalem was high. We too anticipate God’s continued faithfulness and revelation, waiting like the family of believers for the Holy Spirit to light the way, to give us new words of good news to speak.
May we also be united, sharing with those in need, meeting at church and in homes, sharing food with gladness and simplicity, praising God and demonstrating God’s goodness to everyone. And may the Lord add daily to our community of those who are being saved. (Acts 2:44-47)