Awesome! - A reading from New Daylight
This reading taken from New Daylight on 6 December reflects on the koinonia, or fellowship, reflected in Acts 2:43-47. In this reading we're reminded of one of the ten Holy Habits identified in Acts 2: Fellowship, which reminds us that our Christian faith is not simply a private, personal affair; it unites us to one another through Christ.
Learn more about Holy Habits or view our Holy Habits resources.
Bible passage: Acts 2:43-47 (NEB)
A sense of awe was everywhere, and many marvels and signs were brought about through the apostles. All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common: they would sell their property and possessions and make a general distribution as the need of each required. With one mind they kept up their daily attendance at the temple, and, breaking bread in private houses, shared their meals with unaffected joy, as they praised God and enjoyed the favour of the whole people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those whom he was saving.
This passage is one of my favourites and I particularly like the translation from the New English Bible. The NEB was published in 1961, when I was a teenager, and subsequent generations probably do not appreciate the impact that this first modern English translation made.
But this is more than just a favourite passage. The words 'in common' (v. 44) are from the Greek koinonia, which can be translated as communion, community, fellowship, partnership or even solidarity. For me, the glory of God finds wonderful expression in koinonia - community with all those other nuances and all the associated activities: a sense of awe, marvels and signs, real sharing, worshipping together and enjoying one another's company while also, importantly, dovetailing with wider communities.
It is a cliched joke that clergy will do anything to escape preaching on Trinity Sunday - all those analogies (a clover leaf; a camera tripod; water, steam and ice; a plaited rope) to try to get across the concept of three-in-one and one-in-three. But at the risk of boasting, I never worried about that, because for me the Trinity is an expression of perfect community, and the church should aspire to reflect that in the world. It is no accident that in the creeds we express our belief in the three persons of God, then conclude by affirming our belief in the church.
The glory of God expressed through the church community and overflowing into the rest of the world. Now there's a thought. It could catch on!
God of community, may we show forth your glory in our community and through our community.
Written by Geoff Lowson, this reflection was originally published in New Daylight (September–December 2019).