Storytellers love to set their tales in “the good old days,” those times we can all agree were better than the ones we now inhabit. I remember watching “Happy Days” as a young child in the 70s – a TV sitcom set in the 1950. By the late 80s I was watching “The Wonder Years” – a nostalgic look back at the 1960s. Just before the turn of the millennium a show came on called “That 70s Show.” Each anxious era looks back with a mixture of longing and relief at the times they have come through as they try to find a workable way forward.
Such was the case for the early church as well. This Sunday we hear a story from the Acts of the Apostles in which we are told that those who constituted the first generation of the Christian community were of “one heart and soul.” In the idealized memory of the author of Acts the early church was a place where each member took all that they had and shared it with others so that no one was left in need. And yet we also know from reading Paul’s letters to the earliest Christian communities that the early church struggled with deep divisions along lines of class, ethnicity and religion.
Living as God’s Easter people is an act of faith, and still we are filled with doubts. How will this work? Will there be enough? What will it cost me? Yet, as we build our life together we discover time and time again that it can work, there is enough, and that God shows up in our difficult conversations and our hard decisions with the promise of plenty. Have no doubt, memories of golden eras in the past are no match for the future God has in store for us.