Monday, April 9, 2012

No Needy

One of the tests of a living faith community is what happens in that community when the primary leader dies, especially when that death is state sanctioned and horrible. What will the faithful do? What did living faithfully mean to those in followers of Jesus in the early days after Jesus’ death?  We are not the first generation to ask this question. The stories that comprise the Acts of the Apostles (which many scholars link with the Gospel of Luke, as coming from the same community and pen) are full of stories and images describing how a community comes together after Jesus is executed.

Living faithfully meant to these early followers that everyone was called to share with each other. Everyone shared equally in possessions; the wealth of one was the wealth of the whole community. Pause for a moment and consider how different our neighborhoods, cities and towns might be if there were many faithful communities doing the same now. Every once in a while, a religious community decides to try out this way of life. It is a challenging one, and still as radical and counter-cultural as it was in the days of Acts.

Evidence of living faithfully means there are no needy in the ever-growing community. Our neighbors truly are our responsibility. We are our neighbors’ responsibility.

How astounding it would be for more faith communities to stretch into this way of life! How challenging it is to begin! Today, how are you sharing what you have with your neighbors, your neighbors who are strangers and your neighbors who are kin and your neighbors you fought with and haven’t yet forgiven? What are you giving as a person of faith? What is your community giving to the larger whole?

A week from today, Americans must have paid or posted their taxes, or applied for an extension. That’s what the state asks of its populace. But what does our faith ask of us as a people? How are we answering the needs of our neighbors? 

Lovell United Church of Christ, Lovell, Maine

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