A reflection for the 11th April, 2021
Second Sunday in Easter

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Offered for Sunday 11th April 2021


Stephen

Reflections Script

'Second Sunday in Easter'

11th April 2021


As a weekly discipline and conviction
I aim to keep to the set Readings
for the day. But as I say on the front page
of the 'Bible Readings for Sundays'
I produce every year for those who are
reading a lesson or simply want to know
what is coming up, to quote;
'Nevertheless, it should be acknowledged,
the set readings are not above the movement
and conviction of the Holy Spirit'.

This for me is one of those weeks,
although the verses from Acts Chapter 2
which will form the basis of my thoughts
and reflections
Acts 2:42 to the end
are the set reading for the Tuesday
after Easter Sunday this year.

Acts is the second Book from the pen of the
Gospel writer Luke and in one sense Acts
is the most important book in the New Testament.
Stating the obvious, if we did not possess
'The Acts of the Apostles',
we would have, apart from what we can deduce
from the letters of Paul,
no information whatever about how the
early Church developed in the light of
the Resurrection.

This said, these are only signposts
and themes and no one verse or
selection of verses can be used for the
justification of the claim
'We have the definitive New Testament Church!'
Nevertheless, this is a testament to the
authors of the New Testament as the
Christian Church in every time,
generation and culture needs to
incorporate these signposts and
themes in their own God given
and directed way!

An introduction to this second volume
from Luke is best left to David Edwards
from his introduction to
'The Acts of the Apostles:-
One is attracted by the physical adventure.
This book is sun-soaked, spray- drenched,
blood-stained.
Christianity is launched like a
great rocket despite riots, prisons,
storms and long roads.

These Christians are like people who dance
in the streets -and they know how to
engage non-violently their enemies.
But one is more deeply impressed by
the courage which these people show
in accepting change.
They sometimes act like people who can
scarcely believe the good news -
but they do believe it,
and they are eager to share it



Let us Pray


Lord of the church
and the church's mission:
strengthen your church
where she is weak,
guard your church
where she is strong,
renew your church
where she has lost her vision,
give her humility
where she is proud;
grant her members
may serve you with joy and
fulfil your purposes with delight;
deepen the faith of your people
as they proclaim the good news
of the kingdom of
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen.



Address


In this passage from Acts Chapter 2
we have a kind of lightning summary
of the characteristics of the early Church
which should be found in any
Christian Church in any time,
generation or culture.

One:- It was a learning Church;
it persisted in listening to the apostles
as they taught. One of the great perils
of the Church is to look back instead
of forward. Because the riches of Christ
are inexhaustible we should
ever be going forward.
We should count It a wasted day when
we do not learn something new
and when we have not penetrated
more deeply into the wisdom
and the grace of God.

Two:- It was a Church of fellowship;
it had what someone has called
'The Great Quality of Togetherness'.
Mother Teresa shrewdly commented
"None of us, including me, ever do great things.
But we can all do small things,
with great love, and
together we can do something wonderful."

The Church is a real Church
only when we are together
doing something wonderful.

Three:- It was a 'Praying Church';
these early Christians knew they
could not meet life in their
own strength and they did not need to.
They always went to God
before they went out to the world;
they were able to meet the problems
of life because they had first met him
in prayer and fellowship.

Prayer was their very life blood
flowing through every sinew of its being.

Four:- It was a 'Reverent Church',
the word which the King James Version
correctly translates 'Fear'
has the idea of 'Awe' in it.
It was said of a great Greek
they moved through this world
as if it were a temple.

The Christian lives in
'Reverence and Awe'
because they know the whole earth
is the temple of the
'One True Living God revealed
in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Five:- It was a 'Church Where Things Happened';
signs and wonders were there.
If we expect great things from God
and attempt great things for God
things happen.
More things would happen
if we believed God
and we together could
make them happen.

Six:- It was a 'Sharing Church';
these early Christians had an
intense feeling of responsibility
for each other.
It was said of the 19th Century
British textile designer, poet, novelist,
translator and socialist activist,
William Morris, he never saw a
drunken person but he had a feeling of
personal responsibility for them.

A Christian cannot bear to have
too much when others have too little.

Seven:- It was a 'Worshipping Church';
they never forgot to visit God's house.
We must remember
"God knows nothing of a solitary religion."
Things happen when we come together.
God's Spirit moves upon and through
his worshipping people.

Eight:- It was a 'Happy Church',
gladness and enjoyment were there.
Quite simply, a gloomy Christian
is a contradiction in terms.

Nine:- It was a Church others
could not help liking.
Christianity is a lovely thing.
There are so many people who are good
but with their goodness possess
a streak of unlovely hardness.
In the early Church there was a
gorgeous 'Winsomeness in God's People'.

Finally, the early Church
was a 'Growing Church'
to quote the final words of this passage
"And the Lord added to their number
daily those who were being saved".



To Summarise

The Early Church was A Learning Church
A Church noted for its strength of Fellowship
A Praying Church
A Reverent Church
An Expectant Church
A Sharing Church
A Worshipping Church
A Happy Church
An Expanding Church



Our Blessing


May God who clothes the
lilies and feeds the birds of the sky,
who leads the lambs to pasture
and the deer to water,
who multiplied loaves and fishes
and changed water into wine,
lead us, feed us, multiply us,
and change us to reflect the glory
of our Creator through all eternity.
And the blessing.....


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