We look back on this description of the community in Jerusalem as idyllic. “The community of believers was of one heart and mind." So difficult to imagine! It is rare that in even our own selves we experience perfect coherence between our hearts and minds! There is a famous expression: the longest journey is between the head and the heart. It sounds like the members of the early Christian community were making this journey.
This bears scrutiny, especially in this time when so many people have such urgent needs—in the essential areas of life: health care, food, work and safety. The early Christians shared the needs evenly, some people giving up their possessions and privilege to make sure others had what they needed. Their premise was that there is always enough for all. Let’s be honest: this community did believe that, within their lifetimes, Christ would return to transform their lives. It took a while for folks to reflect on the truth that the Christian community would go on beyond their own lives and that, in fact, their lives were already transformed by the resurrection.
This paradox of the ‘already and not yet’ is why the early Christian community still inspires us. The love they shared translated into the sharing of what was essential—food, safety, shelter—even when they didn’t know what the future would bring. Our commitment to following Christ is a commitment to the journey between the head and heart. Out of an abundance of love, the early Christians sacrificed their own needs to share with each other. We can follow their way right now, each of us experiencing the sacrifice in a different way. For some it is the sacrifice of isolation, for others, money, direct service to the sick and suffering, giving time with those who are lonely, advocacy to our elected officials for those most in need... We, like the early church, do this not for ourselves, in the end, but for an unknown future lived in hope and faith in the resurrection and the promise of new life.