Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Acts 4:32-37 (ESV)
They Had Everything in Common
32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power, the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
How well does verse 32 describe your relationship with others in our congregation?
Holy Father, thank You for Your church. You knew that I am not strong enough to weather the storms of this world, fight the devil’s schemes, and grow my faith on my own. The church is Your body where You are the head. In Your church, I am united by fellow believers who join together to strengthen each other, to care for each other, and to learn from each other. Christian unity is not organizational, it is spiritual. It’s people who are attracted to each other because they are pulled by the same power, the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Your church, I am fed by Your Word and strengthened by the unity of the community. Lord, I specifically pray for the unity of the community of Shepherd of the Hills. You have blessed the people in this congregation with faith in Your Word and a generous heart. People have stepped up to pray, make meals, or do tangible things to help each other. This congregation has been active in working together to serve others in need like Serenity Inns, Family Promise, Food Pantries, and the Blood Center and others. By working together to serve others, Your body becomes stronger, bonds together, creates relationships and shares Your love. Lord, I fear that through this pandemic the devil is causing a distraction to separate the church community and keep us apart. Our unity and strength and faith depend on us being Your body and not fearful individuals caring for ourselves. It is harder to know about the needs of others and rise up to support each other as we are separated. Lord, I pray that the people in our church community refocus on the Body and that we can start reassembling to serve You again. Help us to know about and to respond generously to the needs of Your body today. Bring us back together as a faith community so that we can grow in Your Spirit and share Your love with each other and into the world. Amen