Continuously fully present2
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
- Acts 2:42-43
Today’s passage gives us a brief snapshot into the life of the early church. How did they spend their time? What did they do?
We see them actively learning from people who knew Jesus. Both men and women were taught, continuing Jesus’ counter-cultural practice. They would have learned about Jesus and about what it looks like to follow him. This season of training would have been immensely valuable when this community (later in the story) is scattered beyond Jerusalem.
But they did more than learn. The Christian life is not a class to be passed. We’re a fellowship, a community, a family. You can see these early Christians connecting with each other, celebrating communion, and connecting with God. They were deeply engaged.
Many of these people had initially come to Jerusalem for a temporary pilgrimage. Instead, their profound encounter with Jesus caused them to completely re-orient their entire lives around Him, His people, and His teaching and practices. Nothing else mattered nearly as much as Jesus and being a part of this movement. This radical and corporate Jesus-centered orientation was a significant part of their power for mission.
Most of us in 21st century America live lives marked by what one author describes as “continuous partial attention.” We are always multi-tasking, never fully present to any conversation, any task, or any community. Our “To Do Lists” haunt the edges of our brains. Our phones buzz in our pockets. We bounce from thing to thing, missing connections occasionally but not being missed (or at least feeling like we’re not missed). We lack the attention or availability to truly focus.
What would happen if we – like this early Christian community – found focus? What would it take for you to be fully present in the places where God has placed you? What would need to change?