Gratitude Day 594

Acts 2:42 – Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communionand coming together regularly for prayer.

Sometimes, trying to get people on the same page is like herding cats. Impossible.

Just look at events from the last year. Wear masks or not wear masks? Patriots or black lives matter? Vaccine or no vaccine? Stay-at-home order or not?

When a group of people begin to explore their feelings on these topics and a whole bunch of other divisive topics, it can quickly become a challenge for people to find common ground. It feels like we’re living in a day and time when it is much easier to find topics by which we do not agree than where we agree.

For many, it feels much more acute right now than other times in American history. Social media, immediate news and more opportunity to voice our opinions adds to this.

Like many others, I just wish that we could somehow determine that it’s OK not to fully agree and let this be OK. But finding compromise in the midst of this often feels impossible.

Just so we’re clear, this is not the first-time folks have struggle with this. We find the same struggle over and over in the Bible. Maybe one of the most prominent times in the New Testament happens immediately after Jesus’ death.

The question then was: do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus or not?

Even those who found the empty tomb struggled with what really happened. Within Jesus’ inner core of friends, a small group now of 11 guys, there was not complete agreement. For some reason, the disciple Thomas wasn’t present the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples on Easter night. A skeptic, Thomas told the other disciples that unless he saw Jesus for himself, he wouldn’t believe. Imagine how he felt when Jesus showed up and let Thomas feel the spot where a sword had been thrust through Jesus’ rib cage. Certainly, this would guarantee Jesus had died. But here he was … standing in front of Thomas after his death.

Eventually, there was a group of people who believed in Jesus’ resurrection that began to meet regularly. They encouraged each other and supported and shared their beliefs and challenges. We find their story at the end of Acts 2 where we are told specifically how they encouraged and supported each other:

  1. They prayed together.
  2. They share communally everything they had.
  3. They sold their assets and shared them with the entire group.
  4. They met together daily for worship and communion.
  5. They broke bread and shared meals together.
  6.  They provided space for people to grow in faith.

As they formed the first Christian church, they decided that community was a terribly high priority. They adapted and lived the “all for one, one for all” attitude.

And they modeled it for the rest of the world to witness, observe and hopefully repeat.

Some days, we do a better job of this than others.

Within society, we find ourselves challenged to truly live community. We can’t always agree on what community looks like or how it is best lived. It becomes so easy to focus on our own personal beliefs and priorities and fail to consider how our actions affect our neighbor, who we have been taught time and time again to love and love and love.

As much as we struggle with the concept of community, throw in a pandemic with the advice to stay physically away from each other, and whew! It’s one hot mess.

Let’s go back to what the first Christian church did as a community of believers. THEY PRAYED TOGETHER. They didn’t eat together or worship together first. They PRAYED together.

Wow. Do we see how important prayer is? The early Christian church example tells us that the basis of community should always be prayer. Prayer for each other, prayer for our faith communities, prayer for our government and its leaders, prayer for healing of all kinds. Prayer and prayer and prayer.

A week ago, I encouraged us to write out a list of folks that we wanted to pray for. Go back to this list. Read over those names. Hopefully, you will choose to pray for these folks regularly. For today, pick just one name on this list. One person or family that is really struggling. Commit to really pray for this family or person today. Let them know you are praying for them, via a card, a text, a phone call or a card. Write a prayer in a card and send them. Pray for them over the phone. Send a text prayer. Just really lift this situation up in prayer today.

Will it change the situation? I don’t know. This isn’t what is important. What is important? That we treat each other as truly part of our community. Our family. We express our concern and love and support. And then, we pray for them.

I know it isn’t possible to do these extra steps with every name on your prayer list. I get it. But everyone once in a while, could you go the extra steps and dutifully share how you are praying for them? Because this is what real community looks like and does.

Prayer is an interesting animal. We pray, expecting something to change for the person or situation we lift up. But here’s the deal. Regular and consistent prayer may also change us. Mold us. Heal us. Encourage us.

And this, my friends, is how community works. We accept the responsibility to help others within God’s family. We commit to pray for each other, knowing that this is our most important way to support those within our community. We don’t give up even when it may seem and feel that our prayers aren’t being answered. We stay the course, knowing that God is much bigger than all of us combined.

We many not agree with our neighbors on certain things. We may find it difficult to love them at times. But we can and should and must continue to pray for them. For ourselves. For our community. When we stop praying, then we lose hope. And when we lose hope, then we lose the sense of being in community is so important.

How important is community to God? At the very core of who God is. Within God is the Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three persons of God. A COMMUNITY right within the very being of God.  That’s how important community is to God.

If you keep reading in Acts, it doesn’t take long for the Christian community to struggle. They discover they don’t always agree on things, like any other community. But I believe they always continued to pray for each other. I pray we can do the same.

For the model and example of always praying within community, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – In so many communities, it becomes easy to focus on where we disagree than where we agree. Please help us shift away from this mentality to the place where we see as praying for each other is the most important thing. May we see that especially when we don’t agree, praying for each other is the root of community we hall need in our lives. Amen.

Stop by diannedeatonvielhuber on Instagram today for a few more thoughts about today’s Lenten topic.

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