Opinion

Message of apostles is togetherness

Deacon Peter Mueller

Church attendance and worship of God for Christians should be a group experience. God is everywhere, we learn that as young children. Sure we may worship God in the forest, at the lakeshore, sitting on a rock, all alone. However we must understand Christian fellowship.

Those who accepted Jesus’ message were baptized. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and the apostles did many wonders and miraculous signs. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone, as he had need. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

In the later part of the second chapter of Acts we catch a glimpse of the first fellowship of believers. This is the first worship service of believers.

However, it is not described by the order of worship, nor is it described as a ritual. Luke describes it by describing the impact God had made in their hearts. He describes it by describing the actions of the believers as they came together for the first time. It is here that we find another very important ingredient to begin life anew . . . the devoted heartfelt fellowship and worship of believers.

It serves as a model for all believers today. They were moved and motivated by the Spirit-guided message of the apostles.

There was a thirst to hear and learn more about their newfound life of spiritual freedom in Jesus Christ. Try to imagine the pioneer spirit of the first settlers in this country as they probed deeper and farther into this vast wilderness. They were seeking new horizons. There was a great excitement in this new frontier. The excitement led them to probe into the deep wilderness.

It is in Acts 2 that we catch a glimpse of the pioneering spirits of our spiritual forefathers. When Peter stood up and proclaimed the possibility of their spiritual freedom, they only had a thirst for more. The excitement of seeking and finding God was in the air (Ephesians 2:10).

Togetherness is important because it is encouraging. Church attendance includes fellowship. Today's wide ranging technology appears to have made it unnecessary for one human being ever to ask anything of another in the course of his daily activities. This has increased the tendency of people to live independently. Even within our family, we are unique in our feeling that each member should have a separate room, a separate telephone, and their own car, when economically possible. We seek more and more privacy, but are lonelier when we get it.

There was an intense feeling of responsibility for each other. This is one of the major drawing powers of worship. They were, "Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” This is Social Justice. They responded to God by responding to each other.

There was an attractiveness about these believers. Luke records that they "praised God and had favor with all the people." There were no arguments over names, formulas, creeds, rituals or tradition; it was just a simple heartfelt response to God and one another. No argument over baptism, church names, or the kind of music, or the order of worship, or the kind of worship . . . contemporary or traditional . . . or which church to join. There is attractiveness about this spirit. In fact, it was there that others saw the attractiveness of the fellowship of the first believers. It was that attitude that brought others into a relationship with God

Their final concluding commitment - togetherness through the mutual encouragement of those of like precious faith.

Each month a member of the Cook County Ministerium will offer Spiritual Reflections. This month our contributor is Deacon Peter Mueller of St. John's Catholic Church in Grand Marais.


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