“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”

Acts 2 continues with the events of our epic story, the Bible.  The epic hero, God, defeats the epic villain, Satan, at the cross and the resurrection testifies that there is more to follow in our story.  Acts tells the next iteration of the epic, the formation of what we see today, the church.  Our hero God seems to be revealing himself in news ways in the “pour out of his spirit,” what we call the Holy Spirit, on the disciples and on all who choose to follow Jesus.  So gradually the original disciples begin to grasp a larger, more present understanding of God, as they begin to understand that our epic story is not just about the Jews offering sacrifices but a story about God’s love for all people.

         The analogy that demonstrates to me how this story is evolving is the analogy of marriage or even child bearing.  We watch all the movies that usually are happy-ever-after versions of marriage and we say “I do” but it is not until we live into marriage that we begin to understand what relationship means and what our role is.  I tried to imitate the movies and advice books until I realized I needed to be myself.  Through the ups and downs of everyday life with disappointments, arguments, and blessings we gradually built a marriage.  Likewise, with children who come to us so helpless but gradually grow with their own unique personalities, we too enter faith pretty naïve but through the trials of life, begin to get a handle on how faith works and what relationship with God means.

         Acts 2 shares that thousands turned to faith but then had to figure out how to organize themselves.  The early church met together frequently, ate together, held goods in common (Acts 2:42-47).  Lives were changed.  Peter who was impulsive and out-spoken develops into an early leader in the church.  We too are growing and developing spiritually.  Be patient, God is not finished with me yet!  And the church, the gathering of our parts is imperfect and growing.  Together we are more than we are individually!

         Today we still live in the tension between our individual responsibility ie our personal faith, and our corporate responsibility to the church we are a part of.  We might use the saying, “No man is an island,” to explain our need for “church”, the community of believers and not the building structure, and our own personal faith journey.  As you reflect and pray today, think of people who have blessed you on your faith journey and who have helped you to grow. Are you an island or are you contributing to a bigger whole?  Also ponder how you might be challenged to grow now and need the help of the Holy Spirit.  Each of us is important to the whole and each of us is a special creation.  Amazing!

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