Reading: Acts 2: 42-47
Verse 42: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
The early church practiced some things that made it a strong and vibrant church. These practices helped those in the community of faith to grow stronger in their own faith and they also attracted others into the community. They first devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. In this the people got to know Jesus more and more. They deepened their understanding of Christ and His call upon their lives. We continue this practice to this day. We gather in our places of worship to hear the Word proclaimed. We also study our Bibles and read devotionals and books to deepen our personal relationship with Christ.
The early church also devoted themselves to fellowship. They spent lots of time together discussing their faith and sharing their lives with one another. It was a way to build relationships with each other and to support and encourage each other. It was also a way to talk about their faith – both the challenges and what God was doing in their lives. We continue these practices today as we gather after worship, as we meet together for coffee or lunch, as we come together in small groups to study and serve God.
Early followers of the Way often broke bread together. The breaking of bread was partly meal, partly communion. Only in the latter church would communion be separated out and come to resemble what we practice today. The common meal together was like an old-fashioned pot luck. All brought what they could to share with each other. In this early setting, the church would also break bread to remember the gift of Jesus on the cross. Many of us will do so today as well.
Lastly, the early followers prayed together regularly. They would spend time together as a community in prayer. They would know each other well from the times of worship and fellowship and meals. So prayer time was intimately connected and very powerful. We experience this at times in worship but most often experience it in our small groups that have developed a deeper level of care and trust.
“And daily the Lord added to their number those who were being saved”. Through our practices of faith and because of our community of faith, may the Lord increase those who are being saved.