What is it about “firsts” that make them so special?
The first kiss. A baby’s first smile. The first job – and paycheck. Your first house. We love “firsts”… probably because we actually notice them. They hold an awe-inspiring quality for us, and everything is beautifully new. We haven’t yet let ourselves become inattentive—or unappreciative—of their presence.
Today is Pentecost Sunday. Until recently, I’d never spent much time thinking about Pentecost as a
holiday holy day, although it certainly is.
As the story is told in Acts 2, it was on the day of Pentecost that the followers of Jesus first received the gift of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Peter preached his first sermon, calling for repentance and turning away from corruption—and about 3,000 people accepted his message and were baptized.
This group of followers became what is known as the first Church… and Pentecost was its birthday.
So this week as I thought of that first Church in Jerusalem, I thought of them as a community of believers. Together they:
- learned together
- shared meals
- shared their worldly goods
- sold possessions to help people in need
- exhibited glad and sincere hearts
- praised God
- enjoyed each others’ company
And the Lord added to their number daily.
In other words, God blessed their choices.
Have you ever really thought about that first Church? They had no pattern, no road map to follow. There was no organizational structure and no detailed doctrine. Quite simply, they were the first group of people ever to “do church”—and they were learning as they went along.
So what was important to that first community of believers? How did they spend their time? If you look back at the list above, you’ll see Christianity at its most basic:
They focused on God—and focused on each other.
I wonder what our churches would look like today if we went “back to basics” …
What if—before programs and new buildings, stained glass or praise bands—we first focused on loving God enough to love our neighbors? (Remember those “top two” commandments?)
What if, as Peter preached on that first Pentecost, we repented and turned away from corruption?
What would our churches look like then? What would our communities and families look like?
What if we focused on God—and focused on each other?
What if ?