Mayflower Congregational UCC Church
Sermon Date: April 13, 2008, 4th Sunday of Easter
Sermon Title: Christianity and the Common Good
Sermon Text: Acts 2:42-47
Relevant Passage: "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." Acts 2:44 (NIV)
Normally, when people think of Acts 2, they think of "Pentecost", not communism.
The early church seems to be following the teachings of Karl Marx, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
The vast majority of the early converts to the church probably came from the ranks of the poor. (Some scholars believe that 90% of the people in Palestine at the time of the story were poor, many abjectly poor.)
The bread they ate when they fellowshipped might very well have been the only mean they would have had that day.
When we pray what we call "The Lord's Prayer", the requests that are made include food and debt relief, something that has resonance in our world today.
We are headed towards an internation food crisis. There are already food riots taking place in India and other developing nations.
We are spending $5000 a second fighting the war in Iraq.
Currently, we only provide Food Stamps in America to last 3 weeks in a month. We could provide the 4th week's food for far less than we spend fighting in Iraq.
Our tax dollars should go to feel and heal rather than to kill.
Today, the largest churches in our community are those farthest away from the poor.
The early church believed in something we once held to be a part of our national committment: a concern for the Common Good.
The Common Good means that we are responsibile for each other because we share a common humanity.
The members of our church who feed the homeless in OKC known as the "363 Group" spend about $20,000 annually out of their own pockets to help with the program.
This last Saturday, several members of the church participated in a program known to us as "Christmas in April". This program helps to repair homes for those too poor to do so on their own. (One teen in the program called it the "Mayflower version of Extreme Makeover.") The members spent thousands out of their own pockets to provide furnishing for the target family they helped.
We must rediscover the community. No gift or virtue can develop in isolation from the community. The idea of that there is no salvation outside of the church is not a statement of arrogance. It is a statement of reality. All love, grace, and hope must be realized within our community of faith.
(Rev. Robin Meyers' Sermons can be heard every Sunday in Oklahoma City on KOKC (AM 1520 at 9:30 am.)
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