The View from the Vicarage: One in Heart and Mind

This weeks daily readings continue through the Acts of the Apostles, here we see the fledgling church. Jesus has been crucified and has risen again and the disciples are preaching the good news and this new movement is growing, a movement of people who call themselves ‘the way’ who will one day call themselves the Christian Church.

There are no buildings of course, church meets in peoples homes. There are no mega-churches, just small gatherings. In todays readings Acts 4:32-37 we read:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

It is a remarkable movement, a group of people focused around Jesus Christ and the good news of his resurrection, of his salvation for all. A movement of people who loved and cared for all around them and shared what they had.

I have worried for sometime that we have turned the church into an institution when it was supposed to be a movement, with our structures, rituals and traditions that we had maybe lost some of the excitement of being part of the ‘Jesus movement.’

Perhaps it is because the church seems to be at its best under difficult circumstances but maybe I see the shoots of a movement going on all around me.  We are finding new ways to be one in heart and mind, new ways to share what we have and new ways to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. New ways – that is what makes a movement.

When we move forward from this terrible time in our land and our world we will open our doors once again and we will celebrate our traditions, our rituals and even our structures – but let us continue to find new ways to be one in heart and mind, new ways to share what we have and new ways to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

I leave you with a modern hymn by Gerald Coates & Noel Richards that is a prayer for the church to rise when the nation needs its love, prayers and its life changing gospel.

Great is the darkness
That covers the earth
Oppression, injustice and pain
Nations are slipping
In hopeless despair
Though many have come in Your name
Watching while sanity dies
Touched by the madness and lies

May now Your church rise
With power and love
This glorious gospel proclaim
In every nation
Salvation will come
To those who believe in Your name
Help us bring light to this world
That we might speed Your return

Great celebrations
On that final day
When out of the heavens You come
Darkness will vanish
All sorrow will end
And rulers will bow at Your throne
Our great commission complete
Then face to face we shall meet

Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus
Pour out Your spirit we pray
Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus
Pour out Your spirit on us today*

Your friend and vicar

David

*(c) 1992 Thankyou Music, Gerald Coates & Noel Richards

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