Today's Lectionary Text
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Over the past seven years that Bill and I have been married, we’ve lived with other people five times. Friends have needed a place to stay in between selling and building homes; we’ve hosted nannies in our basement and coworkers in a guest room during transitional stages in their lives. My friend Kelley and I have plans to live on the same land in a commune with shared living spaces, complete with a kitchen and community garden (it’s a joke – kind of). The thought of living together – perhaps a more idealized version in my head than reality – is just so compelling to me. It’s difficult, no doubt, but it’s always been worth it.
The irony of it all is, I actually feared the “lifelong roommate” aspect of marriage the most. I’m an introvert and really do prefer to have my own space. But over the years, I’ve learned to be a better roommate and to appreciate other people’s quirks that come out only in spaces they’re most comfortable and safe.
Our friends Kevan and Carissa and their two-year-old shared a home with us for almost three months. Their house sold quicker than expected, so they moved in with us while their new home became available. We played games and watched movies together; cooked meals family-style and shared the household chores. We engaged in deeply spiritual conversations that really changed the way we saw the world and how we did ministry with the people in our lives. We fumbled our way through figuring out a laundry schedule and engaged in spirit-filled and constructive conflict when necessary. Some of my favorite memories with them take place during our time as housemates. We were of one heart and one mind.
Sharing life with others as intimately as if you’re living together – all the while, having concern for the others’ well-being – is transformative. The early church embodied this so beautifully. Imperfectly? Of course, which is why it’s so beautiful to me. The impact their love for each other had on the world for centuries is breathtaking. I wonder – what does this type of community look like in your context? Maybe it’s not living with someone outside of your family. Perhaps it’s just starting with whoever is already in your home. Then let Spirit do what She does best.
-Rev. Melissa Gepford
Intergenerational Discipleship Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
Loving Trinity, three-in-one: you call us to be of one heart and mind. May you, Spirit, lead the way as we seek to belong to one another. Amen.
-Devotion inspired by Catch Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God’s Mission in the World by Blake Busick and Christie Latona, devotional from Jerry D. Smith
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