Thursday, March 3, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Program

Transforming the Oppressive Structures
Acts 4:32-37
Arun Chacko
Staten Island MTC, NY
32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.
 
In today’s society among the countless organizations that exist, the word community is brought up countless times. While it is defined as a group of people gathering together for a unified purpose, how does the Bible's connotation bring meaning to this word?  The book of Acts written by the physician Luke, details the lengthy history of the early church community and its explosion in growth. As we see the amazing ways in which the Lord works through the people and world in that time, how does this correlate to us as disciples living in the 21st century Mar Thoma Church?
 
           We live in a large world with a seemingly endless list of tasks to accomplish and needs to be met. Comfort and peace is something we, as human beings, crave in our lives and it is often found in the people around us. How deep are these connections in our lives. Is it merely a small talk and say good bye relationship? Is our connections with others in our church solely centred on our cultural background and church events?  As Christians, true unification occurs with the ultimate sacrifice in Christ Jesus and the Holy spirit that dwells within us.
 
           As we examine the passage, we see a transformative way in which the community of believers at that time lived life amongst each other. They had the same heart and mindset of being focused on God's work and literally sold everything they had! While this may seem radical in concept, it is an incredible sign of their love and care for one another. In saying this is 'not my money and land', they share in the SAME struggle together. That there was no needy among them(v.34) is a testament to the grace of God changing the believer's idea of giving and community.  The people remembered the SOURCE of their blessings and thus there is no “me” or “mine” mindset.  Our society dwells on the concepts of an ''us and them" mentality but the grace of God destroys it.
 
           We see the explosion of followers in Christ grow in the beginning of Acts 4 after Peter and John faced questioning and opposition from the Sanhedrin and synagogue rulers. The so called structural “church” did not comprehend nor believe and instead chose to stifle the message of  Christ's resurrection. Though the jailing was meant to deter followers, it only led to seekers coming in bigger droves. Not only that, Peter and John's testimony empowered the believers to take greater leaps of faith and love each other. My prayer is that we learn to give not out of convenience and surplus, but in inconvenience and need. God will provide every need and grow us in trial rather than in success. May God bless us all in this season of Lent as we remember the life, death and resurrection of our Lord.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, help us to pursue a heart of grace for those in need and empower us to deny our sinful selves, so that we may grow in greater intimacy with You.  Grant us ears to listen to the needs of your people, the true church, so that we may run the race of faith continually in true community. Amen

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
How well do we know the needs, hearts, and pain of the people around us? How can we grow to love and support them as Christ would?