Oneness in the Community

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.  There were no needy persons among them.  For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need” (Acts 4:32-34)

Oneness in the Community

We are told, “All believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” ( vs. 32).  The people of God must be of one mind and heart.  This oneness comes out of the Community’s relationship with God.  Is God in our midst?  One must recognize the presence of the Almighty if one is truly to have oneness of heart and mind.  I say that our oneness must come from fellowship with the Almighty because it is there, in the gathering around the King, where we find the King’s rule.  It is the King’s rule and our common pursuit of His kingdom that unites us.

The apostle Paul splendidly asserts in unequivocal terms, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited” (Romans 12:15-16).  I like the way the Spanish version of the New International Version portrays the concept that the apostle Paul is trying to convey, “háganse solidarios con los humildes.” To “be willing to associate with people of low position,” is clarified by declaring that we are to live in solidarity with those of low economic and social status.

The idea here behind the word, solidarity is oneness.  There is a sense of unity in the apostle’s statement in this passage.  To be one is to “mourn with those who mourn.”  Many of us enjoy rejoicing with others in their successes in life, but how many of us are so willing to mourn?  Perhaps our ability to “mourn with those who mourn” is our true test of oneness?  Oneness with those “of low position” is the Church’s calling.

The apostle Paul reminds us why it is that many keep themselves from associating with people with less money, or of a different social status.  The source is wrapped up in the word conceit. It is certainly conceit that keeps us from reaching out to our fellow human in need.  There is nothing like pride and conceit that can so destroy oneness among the Community.

In part, kingdom life involves following Jesus Christ as our Lord and copying Him!  Like the popular bracelet: WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?).  We can be certain that Jesus wants justice for all humanity including young men and women living on the street. As we minister, “with one heart and one mind” in bringing about God’s way in the life of youth who live on our cities’ streets, may we remember the fundamental teaching of Hebrews 13:3: “Remember those in prison as if you yourselves were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

There must be solidarity in our suffering with children and others in need.  Scripture is clear with this point:  If we are to live in harmony as the Community, we are to live in oneness with the most destitute in our midst.  To walk hand in hand with those who suffer is to accompany them into the Community and to accompany them into the Community is ultimately to respond to our mandate of preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ to all.

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