The Book of Acts contains the most dramatic account of the explosive growth of the early Christian communities. It details the outreach to widows and orphans, devotion to prayer and study, and ultimately, the spreading of the Good News story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is clear that the early followers attended worship in the synagogues and Jerusalem Temple. They also shared all things “in common,” suggesting that homes and businesses were the places that day-to-day ministry was experienced. So, when did we shift from the church being a dynamic community that adapted to the needs of the world in light of the gospel witness? In the mid-1970’s, my home church sang a chorus that strikes at the cord of this question. “The church is not a building. The church is not a steeple. The church is not a resting place. The church is the people! I am the church, you are the church; we are the church together. All of God’s people, all around the world, yes we’re the church together.” It’s amazing that I recall this simple chorus yet how profound this truth holds for the Christian community today.
The early circuit riders spread scriptural holiness across the frontier. They were driven to organize small classes of communities that gave birth to the small chapels that dot the landscape. In the last 200 years, we have watched the transformation of society. Horse-riding preachers gave way to automobiles; pony express gave way to daily mail delivery and now, e-mail and instantaneous messaging/Facebook; flat boats and wagons gave way to canal boats, railways and then, thanks to the Wright Brothers, air flight. News reports from travelers gave way to radio and now, television 24-hour news and Internet updates.
Let’s remember that as the early witnesses of the resurrection offered the message of salvation to everyone that would be receptive, we too can join the “Acts of the Apostles” and offer the risen Christ through every element of the ministry at Armstrong Chapel.
Grace and Peace,