November 2, 2019
November 2, 2019
As we conclude this week’s study of Acts 4, we read in these final verses a beautiful story of the beloved community, a community in which none go without thanks to the generosity and humility of those with much.
“The Beloved Community” is a term coined by the philosopher Josiah Royce in the early 20thcentury. But Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. expanded and popularized the notion. According to The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change,
“Dr. King’s Beloved Community was not devoid of interpersonal, group or international conflict. Instead he recognized that conflict was an inevitable part of human experience. But he believed that conflicts could be resolved peacefully and adversaries could be reconciled through a mutual, determined commitment to nonviolence. No conflict, he believed, need erupt in violence. And all conflicts in The Beloved Community should end with reconciliation of adversaries cooperating together in a spirit of friendship and goodwill.”
Beloved Community is not some far-fetched impossible dream. It’s real and it’s close. It’s the kingdom of God at our hands, within our reach. Once we recognize that conflict is inevitable, we can begin to live into reconciling through generous thoughts, generous hands, generous listening, and generous time. We are blessed with much. What would it look like to be generous with these things in the same way Barnabas was generous with his resources?
QUESTION FOR THE FIELD
- Do you think the early believers of Acts had conflicts? How do you imagine they dealt with disagreements when everything they had was held in common?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- Discuss the balance between healthy sharing and sustainability. How do we help those in need without burning ourselves out? How did those early believers do it?
Oh Lord, make us bold in generosity. Make us bold in sharing with one another, and with all those in need. Make us bold in practicing reconciliation and generous listening in the midst of conflict. Let us assume the best in one another. Give us peace. Amen.