Day 5, The Fellowship of the Apostles
- Isaiah 56:6-8, For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
- Psalm 24, Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
- Acts 2:37-42, They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
- John 13:34-35, I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Jesus’ commandment to love one another is not theoretical. Our communion of love with one another becomes concrete when we gather together intentionally as Christ’s disciples, to share fellowship and prayer in the power of the Spirit.
The more that Christians, especially their leaders, encounter Christ together in humility and patience, the more prejudice diminishes, the more we discover Christ in one another, and the more we become authentic witnesses to the Kingdom of God.
At times ecumenism can seem very complicated. Yet joyful fellowship, a shared meal and common prayer and praise are ways of apostolic simplicity. In these we obey the commandment to love one another, and proclaim our Amen to Christ’s prayer for unity.
God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may you give to all Christians, and especially to those entrusted with leadership in your Church, the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that with the eyes of our hearts we may see the hope to which you have called us: one body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above and through all and in all. Amen.
- What is our experience of encountering one another as brothers and sisters in Christ through Christian fellowship, shared meals and common prayer?
- What are our expectations of bishops and other church leaders on the path towards the visible unity of the Church?
- How can we support and encourage them?
We encourage you to share your personal reflections in the comments section.
Source: Greymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute
By Susan Engel, MHSH
It begins with a question. Several years ago, ABC aired a documentary entitled “Resurrection.” It offered a compelling debate about whether Jesus rose “physically” from the dead. They interviewed Biblical scholars—Jewish, Protestant and Catholic. The program did not definitively answer the question of whether the resurrection was physical as well as spiritual.
The answer for me is – something happened that was not merely an internal conversion for the apostles. If they did not have an experience of seeing Jesus in a resurrected form, how could they change so drastically? Logical reasoning or wishful thinking did not convince the Apostles that Jesus rose from the dead. Neither did reflecting back years later after Jesus’ death make the apostles create the story of the Resurrection. Searching the Hebrew Scriptures for answers could not create such an enormous radical change in the followers of Jesus.
After Jesus died, not only did their dreams and hopes for a new kingdom evaporate, but they were frightened for their own lives. The gospels record what happened. The Apostles were behind locked doors. They were fleeing Jerusalem for fear they would be crucified next. They went back to fishing. They sought the safety and security of their former lives. But then Jesus appeared to them and they were emboldened. Nothing else can explain why all the Apostles, except John, were martyred.
Reading spiritual literature, nature is often cited for a reason to believe in the Resurrection. In the springtime when we see new buds burst forth from what appear to be dead branches, doesn’t that help us believe in life after death? The lesson from nature strengthens my belief in a cosmic creator God.
I know the answer to the question raised in the ABC documentary.
To believe in Jesus’ Resurrection, I look to Mary Magdalene who was the first to meet the risen Jesus, and I see the answer to the question in the lives of the Apostles.
The answer is Easter! The Resurrection happened. I’m sure of it.