This short passage is truly fascinating! Luke, using a few words, captures the very essence of the early church. If you want it is a short check up list of the church.
Here are a few things that, Dr. Luke writes about the church:
1. Full of Signs and Wonders
2. Believers gathering on regular bases
3. The world around them held them in high esteem
4. People being healed
5. A place that attracted people from all places
6. A group of people that made the starchy religious leaders uncomfortable
WOW! That sounds quite the place! Maybe as you read the text you might be tempted to say: “if my church was like that, maybe …”
Dear reader, here is a questions that keeps me wondering at times: Did the church today is that different from the early church? The answer is not: Yes and No!
It’s true that today’s church sometimes looks more like an institution than a grassroots movement, it’s true that in many ways the church has failed at being a voice of mercy and agent of healing in this world. And I am sure that if we spend more time on this subject this list will be very long.
But we cannot stop there! We have to look deeper, under the surface, and maybe look through Luke’s eyes at the church today.
1. Full of signs and wonders – when we celebrate 50, 40, 30… 10 years of a marriage in our midst, that is a miracle. When we see a life that is turned from a path of destruction, that is a miracle. When a children ask about heaven or they speak about being a friend to the kid that bullied them in school, that is a miracle. And this happens in our churches everyday, because as Christians we choose to stand for the impossible, for the things that seem crazy in this world. We choose to believe.
2. Believers gathering on regular bases. Here is something that might surprise you, no matter how connected we are in today’s word, there is a real sense of loneliness that looms in our culture. And then you have the church, that place where you can walk in as a stranger, an outcast and find a family, a group of people that will surround you and accept you. Because as Christians we recognize the power of God manifested when believers pray, gather and share life together.
3. The world around them held them in high esteem. And still does today. The church is still the go to place where the needy find help, the ones with no voice find voice. The church is still the place where orphans find love, children find a place to learn to write their first words. And this is because as Christians we choose to stand in this world and fight for a better tomorrow.
4. People being healed. Everyday the church is the place where lives are restored. Where someone that lost hope, finds enough faith to spark a new life. Where addictions and struggles are met with mercy and compassion, and faith in a better changed life. And this is because as Christians we choose to pray and believe that God can restore and heal someone to a full life.
5. A place that attracted people from all places. Where else can you find a more diverse, more interesting crowd than the church?Where else can you find people from all walks of life gathering and find, hope, fellowship, friendship, community? And why are people attracted to the church today? Because as Christians we choose to accept and show God’s love.
6. A group of people that made the starchy religious leaders uncomfortable. The church is still the place where people find passion for the things that are important in life, is still that place that can stir up envy when the people of God are doing those things that define them. And this is because as Christians we choose to look for what God does and can do in our lives on daily bases.
So… Do yo see the church in the same way? Can you see the church that you love as the people gathering on Solomon’s Porch?
If not could you pray today that the church as the body of Christ, the church as the local body can be as the church that Luke writes about.
PS. Sorry for the long post.