Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Acts 2:42-47 - Ash Wednesday

Acts 2:42-47
English Standard Version (ESV)

  Some people have magnetism, right?  We've all been around people who ooze charisma, people you just want to be friends with because they bring energy to the room.  It's fun to be around such people.
  When I read this description of the early church, I feel like this is a group of people I want to be around.  These people look out for each other, they love each other, they watch out for each other.  They're willing to sacrifice their own wants for the greater cause of the community, and they trust that the community will be there for them when they need it.  This is the type of community that will draw people in.
  I think that the church often seeks to substitute the first for the second.  They try and find a pastor who will draw people in with his or her charisma, and what they need instead is to let God shape them into a community that has such deep love and concern for one another and for what God is doing in their midst that they are willing to sacrifice to let their love be made real.  This is much harder, but this is how the church has been sustained through the centuries -- because Christ's love shows us how to be selfless for one another, and outsiders see and experience such amazing love and are drawn towards the one who teaches us to love.
  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a season in which we prepare for Easter.  If I'm being honest, I'll confess that my heart is much harder today than it was years ago.  Life has a way of doing that to us, and so my selfish prayer is for a softer heart more willing to love others selflessly.  I don't know how God is calling you to grow in your own preparation for Easter, but reading about what a Spirit-centered community looks like should call each of us to do some honest self-examination and seek to take the next step of faith.

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