42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.
Once a month, I meet with a group of fellow young UMC clergy for lunch. It’s one of the highlights of my month and I always walk away feeling restored in God being at work. We talk about our churches, about our lives, about how we’re caring for ourselves amongst difficulties. We talk about what’s working and share resourcing to help each other fix what’s not really working. These aren’t just my colleagues but my friends and when we break bread together (gluten free bread for me) we are also sharing in ministry so that we can all feel supported in our vocations. We make up all sorts of different kinds of clergy people: ordained, provisional, licensed, elder, deacon.
When I read today’s text, an expansion on the Pentecost text known as the beginning of the church as we know it, I think about this group I meet with. I think about how those meals together don’t just nourish (and caffeinate) or bodies but the nourish our souls. I think about how inspired I have been by the work of my friends and how much bigger God becomes when I get to hear about and celebrate their work. I think about how I feel motivated to continue to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance to help build a church community that changes the world.
The church often starts around a table.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
When you think of “church”, what comes to mind? Are there things that are “church” that aren’t a traditional church building and an hour of worship?
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for the gift of the church. May we find it not just on Sunday mornings but around tables with friends. Amen.