And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. 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. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 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 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. [Acts 4:31-35]
Every time I read Acts, I just cannot shake this feeling that were we in the same time period…these would be ‘my people.’ I function in a pretty awful state when I feel disconnected from my people. God didn’t create us to be alone, so when we sequester ourselves for whatever reason, it creates feelings of loneliness and isolation that God never intended for us to feel. We need people.
When my people gather…watch out, because craziness is about to explode all around us. Laughter. Antics. Cuss words come into play at some point. Wine is normally involved. But what is really happening is connection and within that community connection, God functions at his highest through us. God is growing us to be a community of Kingdom storytellers. When I read Acts 4, it is hard to miss what occurs AFTER they prayed together. *Enter visual of Haitians praying together simultaneously, each verbal prayer individual to that person.* The Holy Spirit fills them, and they CONTINUED to speak God’s word with boldness. It bears repeating…they were in their normal rhythm of community when the Holy Spirit SHOWED UP and they continued to speak boldly. This wasn’t an unusual day. This is what happens when believers gather.
While I was back in the States during November and December, I was looking forward to studying Acts in person instead of over text or Facetime. But each time we got together, something else needed the focus and we needed to be present with each other as listeners and express ourselves as the fighter at each other’s back. We needed to know we still operated as a whole, not women who are separate and alone. We needed prayer. We needed to feel the value of those God has given to walk with us in this journey. Each time we gather in the same place, we need to remind each other over and over again this is true. Every. Time. It’s true.
In the times we cannot gather in person, we gather in our group text. Sometimes the conversation that gets tossed around there is utterly ridiculous, other times, incredibly serious. But it is our connection point throughout the week when we cannot be physically present with each other. It’s amazing how often, as super strong, independent, Jesus following, insanely gifted woman…that each one of us feels alone. That, friends, is when we point out to each other, is not the heart of God. It is the work of those that fight against him.
We’ve been reading through Acts together, and when I read these moments of community, like in Acts 4, I do think of my people. Of how much I miss their passion for God’s Kingdom. Of how much I just miss them in general. To them I am not weird, I am just how God created me. I value the same in them, especially in all of the ways each of us has been pulled into the orphan window in Russia or Haiti. At the end of the day, each of us needs to know the rest have their back. When shit hits the fan, we do not run in the opposite direction. We operate as a solid unit. We know we are better together, because time and experience have proven that over and over again. So as I raise my glass to my people in celebration of what God has done, is doing and will do among us, I crave all the more the next time we gather in one place.