Students

New Community

This devotional is written by Matthew Crawford. Matthew is the Student Worker at St Mary's. He lives in New Cross, S.E London, which he argues is undoubtedly the best part of the city.

Acts 4:32-37

The believers share their possessions

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there was no needy person among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means 'son of encouragement'), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.

Reflection

The Bible is packed with stories of the complexities and intricacies of communities seeking to follow God. May that be Israel spending 40 years in the dessert or the early church figuring out how to live for Jesus after years of being under the law. From all these stories, we see that the authors do not shy away from speaking about the reality of community. Community is beautiful, sacrificial, heartbreaking, life-giving, messy, soul- fulfilling- all in equal measures.

From today's passage we read how the early Christians were adjusting to life after Jesus had ascended to Heaven. They were mirroring the teachings of Jesus, demonstrating sacrificial love for one other. In today's western society we tend to look at church from a consumeristic lens. "How will this benefit me? I didn't like that song. Maybe I'll go, I'll see how I feel". These are all valid emotions, after all we live in a time of rife individualism. In saying this, today's society is crying out for depth of connection that cannot be found without sacrifice. From the passage we see that sacrifice is rewarded. The people of need in the community benefited and the sacrifice was a testament to those who had not yet believed in the person of Jesus.

Serving in community comes in so many shapes and forms, but before we serve we must first allow ourselves to see Jesus' sacrifice for how it really is- undying sacrificial love rather than shame induced action. This is something that we can attempt to mirror. Beginning in my role as Student Worker, it is my prayer that our new community would be formed by sacrificial love for one-another. That we would be counteractive to the rise of individualism so that loneliness would be eradicated through community.

Prayer: Jesus, I thank you for your sacrificial love. I thank you for the community that you've blessed us with. I pray that we would be a people known for being radically sacrificial.
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