You might recall the familiar fairy tale ending, the perfect resolution to the story, “And they lived happily ever after.”
That’s how the book of Acts begins. Jesus was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, then the Holy Spirit came upon them. And that day alone, more than three thousand were baptized. We remember it as the day of Pentecost, and from there, Luke, the author of Acts writes, “All who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44).
It sounds almost like the end of a fairytale.
The thousands of people baptized on the day of Pentecost were suddenly committed to one another, wonders and signs were being performed among them. And they devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, they shared everything they had with each other, they prayed together, and they broke bread together.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Perhaps such a scene recalls an even older story, because, in a sense, this is a return to the Garden of Eden, where the first humans had their food and needs for life provided by God.
But to our ears, it seems like a distant dream, an impossible reality. “It was a different time,” we say. Because today, we talk of the church shrinking rather than growing. We talk of conflict and division, rather than unity. We talk of having enough money to keep our building operating, rather than sharing all things in common.
It is a different time, but perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to write off the experience of the early church. Because maybe, rather than a fairy tale, this is a glimpse of the new creation, of the kingdom of God, of the world as it should be.
Maybe this is what is possible because of the resurrection of Christ.
Grace and peace,