from the desk of…The fellowship of believers
Carolyn Knaggs, Commissioner
Having just recalled and celebrated the Easter season, I am reminded of the Scripture in Acts 2:42, which is the definition of the early Christian church: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. This verse of Scripture occurs just after Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they were set on a path to win the world for Jesus.
These individuals who walked with Jesus during his ministry had now experienced the truth that Jesus was alive. They knew without a doubt that God had fulfilled his promise of a Messiah who would redeem the world—and them.
One of the phrases in the New International Version of this account of Pentecost is that the disciples were all together in one place. While this implies that they were in the same room, I think about us as his disciples, hoping that the “one place” we are together is in asking for the Spirit to guide, teach, and encourage us in our faith.
In recent days, we had the opportunity to visit the corps in Bishop, Calif. This is a relatively new corps, deep into the canyons of the beautiful state where we live. In a storefront building, this Sunday about 60 people gathered to worship and to share in breakfast together. Actually, the day began with coffee brewing and the smell of bacon filling the few rooms called a corps. We noticed that a few families began to arrive and many single individuals, who we soon learned were members of the homeless population in that small town of 4,000. Someone once told me that the only difference with homeless people and the rest of us is that they do not have an address and we do.
As breakfast was being prepared, Sunday school classes began with studies that would encourage our faith and understanding of God’s love for us. Soon there was a lively discussion of God’s provision and evidence that those in the room were hoping that these truths would pertain to them.
We then began to break bread (in reality) together. Plates were piled high with eggs, bacon, French toast and pastries. Men, women, and children had enough to eat with food enough for “take-out” when the service was over.
We began to sing and praise, and listen to the Word of God. The atmosphere in the room was one of reverence even though the occasional sip of the coffee cup could be heard. As the message was being preached, I noticed a young woman weeping at the table where her empty plate sat. A soldier of the congregation slipped next to her and simply held her hand. It was a sign of beautiful fellowship.
When the invitation was given to pray at the mercy seat, without hesitation, people went to seek the Lord. As I prayed with a young woman, her prayer was simple: she said she had been pushing the Lord away from her and just didn’t want to do that anymore. She asked Jesus to come into her life and her tears were for remorse and release.
We were all together in one place. God was present and moved in the hearts of all of us. We found ourselves living the Scripture in Acts 2:42: we were devoting ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.