Gathering and scattering
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
- Acts 2:1
They did it! Can we just celebrate that for a moment?
Last week we heard Jesus’ command to his followers that they should stay in Jerusalem until they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jerusalem was the most dangerous place in the world to be a follower of Jesus. Everything shouted to these early Christians to run for safety. Everything, that is, except Jesus.
They stayed. They hung in there. They gathered together in an upper room for yet another prayer meeting. And God met them there in the most powerful way possible.
Over and over again throughout The Book of Acts we see God gathering his people for a specific purpose. It happens in Jerusalem and then again in Antioch and again in Ephesus. But this gathering always serves a purpose. God uses these times of gathering to equip, empower and envision his people. And then God sends them out.
The rhythm in The Book of Acts is one of gathering and scattering. They leave this upper room to talk to people about Jesus. They gather again to pray and then scatter when a persecution hits them. A spectacular community forms in Antioch and then scatters (at least in part) to plant new churches. They gather in Ephesus to learn and grow and then scatter to love and reach their neighbors. Gathering and scattering.
Which of these movements of God get you more excited: gathering or scattering? Do you get more energized by the idea of getting together with fellow followers of Jesus or by the idea of moving out into your workplace, school or neighborhood to love and serve? Both movements are good. Which appeals more to you?