And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 2: 42

 

This is a very brief picture of life among the men and women who made up the early church. In this statement we get a picture of the impact that the presence of the Holy Spirit had on them. They were brought out of their separate and different lives. Now they had a common bond and singular purpose. As I would understand it, they came from almost all walks of life and levels of status within the culture; yet, here, in the church of Christ, those differences disappeared and were replaced by the common bond of family. They were joined together in their devotion to things that brought them together, to their newly formed commonality. This devotion became a very powerful agent in the process of binding together such a widely divergent group of people.

 

It makes me wonder about my own devotion and about the things that our church today is devoted to. Devotion, prokartereo, means “a steadfast and single-minded fidelity to a certain course of action.” It seems to me that people today are not very good at being single-minded and steadfast. Most of us tend to be fragmented and to follow after whatever catches our eye at any given moment. We also get caught up in our passions and allow those interests, even when they are worthy ones, to take us over so that we are drawn away from the center of fellowship and out of this sort of common devotion. Now I realize that Luke is painting a picture of life in a very singular time during the history of the church. However, I don’t think that he meant for this to be nothing more than a tale of times long ago and far away.

 

This image of what it was like to live in the community of faith that was the early church gives us an aspirational view of possibility. There is no reason why we should not live in a manner where we are as singular in our focus and completely committed to the common bonds of life in Christ that we would not make those same elemental aspects of that life our common experience. If we were to become truly committed to engaging life from a point of view in which our relationship with Christ was the center of our lives and fellowship as the body of Christ was the expression of that relationship, our view of the world would be different. What if we could not only say but actually live so that teaching of the Word of God and soul-deep fellowship that celebrates our commonality in Christ was what defined Christians? This is more than just a dream, for it is the possibility that devotion to Christ can make real.