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.
It was the final round, and they were tired. Of course, their competitors also were tired, but that did not make winning any less of a challenge. They each took their position at the rope. Their anchor, who was by far the most substantial member of the team, looped the end of the rope around his waist. At the sound of the whistle, they began to pull. The anchor’s feet started to slip right away. He got low, dug in his heels and tried to inch his way backward, but it was no use. Then he noticed that some of the hands on his team were barely touching that rope. With just one of his teammates taking a breather, their strength seemed only a fraction of what it needed to be to succeed.
We might be tempted to look at the early Church and think that they were much different than we are today. They were just starting off, and we should be well established at this point. They were a much smaller group, and we are much larger now. They were much more limited in their resources and reach than the global Church today. Yet, these differences do not change the fundamental necessities the Church had then and continues to have now. The greatest of these is commonality. This is not about being robotic clones of one another but about truly operating as a single body with a single faith in a single spirit for a single purpose. The first lesson we can learn from them, which was certainly a product of necessity, is their commonality.
If we all begin from the same fundamental point, that being the knowledge of Christ and him crucified, how can it be that our growth from there could be so divergent? The answer is that we do not share those things which we should have in common. From political leanings to social conventions to a basic understanding of what salvation is, we have found so many ways to lose one another. We must stop looking for ways to distinguish ourselves from this faction or that. We will not succeed until we intentionally chase the early Church’s commonality and bring it to this age. Father, show us what it means for your people to have everything in common, and expose and illuminate those who seek only their own ends.