I like to think back to the days of the early church. Before there were popes and cathedrals and Eastern and Western. Before televangelists. Before people had arguments about the color of the sanctuary carpet. Before $500,000 fundraising events for a new pipe organ. I think about the excitement and the sense of community. About sharing and hope.
I know things weren’t perfect then either. People were killed for what they believed. There were theological debates about how to fit this new movement with the Jewish tradition. There was confusion about what it meant to be a Christian.
But I know one thing:
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. (Acts 4:34-35)
What a wonderful concept! There was not a needy person among them. Is it that simple? If we all shared what we have, would there not be a needy person among us? What would such a world look like? I imagine less crime, less violence, smaller families to sustain a planet of finite resources, more creativity, more happiness, less guilt, less suffering, more community.
The author of Acts also mentions that the first Christians “…broke bread at home (or from house to house) and ate their food with glad and generous hearts…” I long for such community. I long for the day when I have a community of people with which to share meals, chores, tools, clothes, cars, joys, and concerns. Everybody needs that. But there are so many isolated people. People without community. People without a home.
I pray that Christians (and people of all faiths) will start to embrace in earnest the concept of sharing with those who do not have what they need. To let go of fabricated wants and find the joy of enough.
I imagine a world where there is not a needy person among us.