Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sharing Spaces

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.  All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.  A dee p sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.  And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.  They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.  And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.  Acts 2:41-47 (NLT)
Someone once said that greatest of the “many miraculous signs and wonders” the apostles performed was getting the disciples to share everything.  I think perhaps that’s only half in jest!
We have two dogs…fur-babies, four-legged children; well, maybe they have us – it’s a little difficult to figure out master-servant relationships around this place.  They don’t really share well; sometimes it’s a cause for strife.
This past Sunday I fell asleep on the couch.  (That happens when you get up before the chickens, drive an hour, conduct two services separated by an 11-mile dash between churches, drive another hour home and then wolf down a sandwich for lunch).
But, I digress.  While I sawed logs Elizabeth watched Gracie crawl up in my lap – something she does rarely.  But this time it was for effect; Wellie, the brown hairy mop was watching. 
I doubt Gracie actually wanted to be on my lap – she’s rather independent; I just think she couldn’t resist the temptation to get in Wellie’s face over being on Russell’s lap while he was on the floor.  Wellie wasn’t having any of it; he jumped-up on the ottoman in front of the couch and began to bark at Gracie in a menacing, way.  This was followed by low growls; it was as ferocious as it gets when you’re half someone else’s size!
My dogs are Methodist, but they haven’t picked up on that sharing thing with food or the attention of the humans in the house.  They’re territorial and serious about it!
We can be that way in the church; we get possessive over this pew seat, or being chairperson of that committee, or pastor over that pulpit.  We can get persnickety over the music, extemporaneous or written prayers or sermons.  We get REAL persnickety over our buildings and programs.
If you want persnickety preach more than one time a year on tithing; that will do it!
Where are we going with this today?
I have observed that, generally, in places like stores, government and the workplace sharing isn’t an issue because everyone knows you don’t invade someone else’s space without risk.  In church we have a culture that proclaims we’re successful at being like the early church – kind, loving, friendly and generous. 
And that’s true….to a degree.  But sometimes we simply tolerate each other until there’s food or some attention to be had, or somebody tickles the sacred cow. 
That’s when things change!
Sadly, even in the church there is risk involved in doing something without getting a “Wellie-bark” for your trouble.  (Sometime I’ll tell you about the time Elizabeth and I moved the church nursery to a bigger room without asking.)

For You Today

Are you ready to share what’s “yours”? 

If you are, I need you to talk to my dogs. 

And, if you are, perhaps there can be more signs and miraculous wonders around the church.

[1] Title Image: L-R Wellie and Gracie, proprietors at Brownworth house.

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