Those who had been baptized devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

I think it’s time I got to some fundamentals preaching with you. Let’s eat. Let’s eat. Let’s talk again about the fact of our eating together. This as a gift from God, the ability to eat together at one another tables. And it makes us good, primitive apostolic age Christians too. We hear in the reading from Acts today that the disciples were generally having a joyous and good time together back in those days after Jesus ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, tongues of fire, gifts of wonder, healing, power. Lives being transformed, hearts turning to the still small voice humming within them like a swarm of bees, announcing that new life has taken up residence in the old self. “And day by day the Lord added to their number those being saved.”

And who wouldn’t want to come to dinner in one another’s’ home. Break bread, share wine or soft drinks, slowing down enough to listen, and share stories. Our souls need a place where we can lay our gifts at one another’s’ feet. For when we do, our lives might just be illumined by what others hear and see and discern and celebrate and love in us. When we do, we might also start to entrust more and more of ourselves and our great possessions to God, through the people we commit to share more of our lives with. When we do, we might lose our attachment to things we have held on to a bit too tightly and see what happens when we place more of our gifts and abilities, our money, our time, our lives in the hands of others. And if you’ve ever been part of a cooperative, a business, a shared living situation, or marriage, or friendship, and other kinds of life in common, you know how fruitful and how difficult that can be.

And we break bread together as part of a larger pattern of life in common with others. As Christians, we commit ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Back where I’m from I had occasion at times to work with Amish people as part of a newly formed farm cooperative. In the way they live as Christians, as church, they do a lot of eating together. They gather for worship every other Sunday at someone’s home. And they worship, and sing, and preach all morning. And they eat and visit all afternoon. They eat together. And they make sure one another show up, because they realize, in a way that churches a bit too comfy with private property and unencumbered individualism, that our lives are not our own. Their way is not quite our way, but here is a family resemblance. We eat together. When we eat together, we can enjoy one another, get to know one another, have compassion and desire to forbear and reconcile a little more easily, to see the others good. And just talk face to face. And maybe we begin to realize we have the same swarm of bees humming within our hearts, the same Holy Spirit that has taken up residence to renew us. Community is a grace, a gift, but receiving it, we are called more and more into a life lived in common, a life where we participate shepherding one another.

Let’s not shy away from Luke’s joyful account of life shared in common, yes with all its grumbles, failures, stepped on toes, work, and human kindness and simple delight. The little detail hums with the joy of the spirit, like a swarm of bees who have come to know their secure home with God. The way, the door, the gate is a lovely and trustworthy one, well-trimmed and framed. A gateway someone’s voice has sung, has danced for them, guided by a taste of honey. Lives enthralled by the taste of Holy Spirit, filled with love for Christ, women and men praising God, selling their goods and distributing to those in need, working together by day, and gathering in the temple to pray, breaking bread, and welcoming those being saved God added daily to their numbers. They show us how to receive the gift of community, and the simple ways to shape our lives in order to be at the disposal of God, now.

God wants to be in community with us, as we are able now. Now, and more and more, as we break bread, and pray together, and release our lives and possessions and stories into the faithful trust and co-direction of others with whom we have come to share life under the Spirit’s guiding hand. And in what way is God calling you today into this life in common with Christ and others?