Week 39 Sunday

A Simple Church

Today’s scripture selection: Acts 1-2

Key Verses: Acts 2:42-44

We live in a world where the word “church” can evoke many images:

  • A great, ancient cathedral filled with the sound of a mighty pipe organ
  • A small missionary hut in the middle of some jungle
  • A “mega-church” where rock and roll and coffee served during worship gatherings is the name of the game
  • A quiet fellowship of believers who sit silently waiting for the Spirit to speak
  • A Pentecostal healing service, with people “speaking in tongues”
  • A building in the suburbs, where mini-vans pick up and deposit little ones for Christian “day-care”
  • An inner-city soup kitchen with cots for the homeless
  • A twelve-step group where addicts find hope
  • A political action group, striving for “social justice” in Christ’s name
  • A “seniors” group sharing stories and companionship

All can and do claim the name “church” in our modern world.

But every now and then I like to go back and reflect on what “church” meant in the beginning; shortly after Christ’s resurrection.  The book of Acts describes it this way:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled at awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”

It sounds so simple – so basic – so right.

I know we may never again experience church just that way.  The worldwide Church must change with the times – like everything else.

But it’s good to remember how it once was.  And, now and then, strive to be it again.

Prayer: Lord, call us ever forward to be your people, devoted to teaching and fellowship; service and prayer.  In your name, AMEN. 

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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