This week children and youth will begin learning about the early church and their witness in the world. The community described in our focus passage (Acts 2:42–47) is probably quite different from our experiences of Christian community. Acts describes a new community drawn together in the excitement and joy that followed the awareness of Jesus’ resurrection. Together, they were trying to make sense of what had happened to Jesus and were eagerly expecting Jesus’ return.
As noted in verse 42, the rituals and practices of the early Christians who followed Jesus watched and learned how to live in caring ways. The followers of Jesus got together often to worship, eat a meal together, and recall the stories and teachings of Jesus. One of the key things that this reading from Acts tells us about the early Christians is that they shared their food “with glad and generous hearts” (v. 46, NRSV). Given the persecution of the time and the fact that there was incredible uncertainty about the future, this seems a very courageous and wonderful thing to do. The community of followers was filled with the spirit of Jesus. The loving ways of Jesus went on and on. Possessions serve the common good and respond to any in need. Acts 2:47 reports that this community of Jesus’ followers enjoyed the “goodwill of all the people.” “Goodwill” is a translation of a Greek word that also means “grace.” Perhaps such feelings of goodwill made it easier for the Body of Christ in that place to make God’s grace known to their neighbors. The passage also notes the community’s growth.
At our time together our group will have the opportunity to discover the characteristics of the early Christian communities and compare these characteristics with those of our own church. Going to mission trips or by supporting mission locally, are good opportunities for establishing quality connections with their community of faith and to affirm each child as a valued member of the church family and on serving one another.
Suggestions to do as a family this week. When we share what we have with others, the love of Jesus grows in our world. What might you share with others? Consider giving away clothes, toys, or books that you don’t use anymore. Offer to make a meal for someone who has a difficult time cooking. Give your friendship to someone who is lonely.
As always, all children and youth are welcome to join us for Bible story time and activities on the 2nd floor after the time of conversation with the pastor. The group will come back to the church to take Communion. Childcare is available for children 4 and under on the 2nd floor as well.