You can see all the lectionary readings for the Second Sunday of Easter, Year B by clicking here. Last year I discussed the passage from the Gospel of John, so this year I will focus on the brief passage from the book of Acts, quoted in full below.
The whole group of believers was united in their thinking and in what they wanted. None of them said that the things they had were their own. Instead, they shared everything. With great power the apostles were making it known to everyone that the Lord Jesus was raised from death. And God blessed all the believers very much. None of them could say they needed anything. Everyone who owned fields or houses sold them. They brought the money they got and gave it to the apostles. Then everyone was given whatever they needed.
Acts 4:32-35, Easy-to-Read Version
Imagine how radical it would be (radical in the revolutionary sense, not in the 80’s cool sense) if the church still functioned like this. Imagine if the world functioned like this. (I’m now hearing John Lennon’s voice in my head).
I am not going to get too political here (that’s not my strong point), but I have to point out that this is far different from the way the United States works today. I also have to point out that many churches today emphasize individual prosperity as a sign of God’s blessing. Certain preachers emphasize that if you are right with God, you will have more money, that you can then donate to their ministry. However, they aren’t using that money as the early church did–to share everything in common with all the believers or the rest of their community. The ministers who crow the loudest about prosperity are typically keeping a lot of that money for themselves, though they may use some for soup kitchens here and there. American Christians often like to trumpet that we are a Christian nation founded on Christian values, but you don’t see them wanting to put this passage or the Beatitudes up in public places, but only the Ten Commandments.
How can we change this paradigm? How can we become Christians who live radically and share radically like the early Christians? I confess I don’t know, but I know we need to speak out when we see the exact opposite kind of Christianity in the public sphere. I want to speak out when I see Christians who oppress the poor, refugees, and other marginalized people instead of professing the true love of Jesus. I pray to God that we can really be Christ to people and that we can turn around this vision of American Christians as cruel and hateful.