Reset for the Common Good

Acts 2: 44 – 47

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.

In the first days after Pentecost, the early believers in Jesus experienced serious disruption in their regular life. Suddenly, there was a togetherness and sense of community they hadn’t experienced before. Suddenly, priorities shifted and their shared life took precedence. Generosity blossomed as they found joy and security in trusting that having all things in common would mean that all their needs would be met.

A Covid-19 pandemic is hardly akin to Pentecost. But it does have the potential to be a massive reset button. In the midst of the disruption and adjustment, we have the opportunity to reflect on our priorities. Being forced to practice physical distancing brings into sharp focus how much the experience of friendship and community matters to us. Facing our loneliness, feeling the anxiety of uncertainty, and facing the reality of sudden economic destabilization, offers fresh opportunity to reflect on what our value of mutuality really means.

The early believers shared things in common and ensured that those with need were cared for. Imagine what this must have been like as a group of wealthy and poor, slave and free, male and female suddenly found themselves in equitable relationship despite the social dictates of the culture around them. Their joy and gladness in experiencing the presence of the Spirit, the liberating teaching of Jesus, and a deep sense of community together must have transcended any difficult effects of such radical change. It is easy to see how this might be liberating for those economically disadvantaged. But it would seem that it was equally liberating to the rich.