Acts 2: 44 – 47
44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
This is just after the Day of Pentecost, when the disciples had been violently filled with God’s power through the Holy Spirit, and had rushed outside speaking the Good News, the Gospel, to all and sundry, and being understood, whatever language they spoke. According to the bible, about 3 000 became Christians that day. That’s Billy Graham at his most successful! What was it that enabled the faith of these Christians to mature and grow, be they young or old, newly converted or the disciples who had been following Jesus for three years? Of course it was being filled with the Holy Spirit either in that initial outpouring on the disciples or by baptism which the bible says was offered to all those who were converted that day.
However it is an undeniable fact that most of the families we baptism in St Mary’s disappear without trace despite our best efforts to remain in contact. There is something more. And I think it is actually more pedestrian and mentioned in the verses above. The three basic points leading to Christian growth that come out of these verses for me are first that these early Christians bought into the new Faith by giving of themselves. they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, and second they met together for considerable amounts of time in the Lord’s house, the temple they spent much time together in the temple. Worship together and giving of ourselves seem to be vital. It’s hard to be a Christian on your own!
We have striven really hard during the weeks when it has not been possible to physically meet together in church to make sure that we have been able to worship together from our separate living rooms, dining rooms and sometimes bedrooms, and we have worked equally hard to ensure that those who cannot master the demands of Zoom still feel connected through receiving a weekly hard copy mailing. This is as near as we can get to spending much time together in the temple.
You will know that Sunday July 5th is the first Sunday we are permitted to hold public worship in church once again. Whether we manage to do this this Sunday is down to whether a risk assessment proforma is published early enough for us to be positive the church building is as safe as we can possibly make it to worship together in. If it is, then this will be the first time we will have broken bread together since March 22nd and we will be once again fulfilling the third of the basic points leading to Christian growth that come out of the reading. They broke bread. Let’s pray that it is not too long before those still shielding at home and those who are able to leave their homes can once again be in the same building at the same time sharing the same meal.
Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands that have taken holy things;
may the ears which have heard your word be deaf to clamour and dispute;
may the tongues which have sung your praise be free from deceit;
may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love shine with the light of hope;
and may the bodies which have been fed with your body be refreshed with the fulness of your life;
glory to you for ever. Amen
This is probably the seasonally inappropriate poem I could choose, but the sentiments of the wonder of how God comes close to us last all year through!
Christmas by John Betjeman
The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
‘The church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.
Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says ‘Merry Christmas to you all’.
And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.
And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children’s hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say ‘Come!’
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.
And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?
And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,
No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.
We are not able to offer Evening Prayer on Zoom today (Tuesday)
If you would like to say Evening Prayer on your own go to
and scroll down to click on the right link
The times for Evening Prayer for the rest of the week are as follows:
Sunday Morning Service to be confirmed (both on Zoom and in church) and Evening Prayer at 6pm