Brothers Dwell Together

 

Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 133
1 John 1:1-2:2
John 20:19-31

 

Psalms 120-134 make up a collection know by the title, A song of ascents. All but one (132 at 18 verses) are under ten verses with several only three verses long, including 133. But there is no agreement about why they are a collection or what they mean as a group.

Looking at the opening of Psalm 133, we read, How good and how pleasant it is that brothers dwell togetherJSB That goes nicely with Acts, Among the large number who had become believers there was complete agreement of heart and soulPhillips

The Bible tells one story. The story is our broken relationship with God and God’s ultimate reconciliation with us. God created humans as social animals. He intends for us to work and live together.

In telling our own stories, fact or fiction, we need to keep that story as a central driving force. It is not essential that we mention God, but it is essential that we stress the need for humans to get along, to be kind, to support one another.

Like the Bible, some of our stories may be filled with hate and brutality, but, like the Bible, love wins.

Whenever I am involved in a conversation about this passage of Acts, I always point out that this is a perfect description of communism. Americans find that a little upsetting, but it is true. We can tone it down by calling it socialism if you want, the result is the same: people helping each other.

Notice that there is no central command, no order to sell what you have and turn the money over to the fellowship. There is so much trust and love that people just do it.

Why can’t we have that now?

Sadly, about the only groups that do it are religious cults that convince people to give all their wealth to their leader who then uses it as he wants while putting his flock to work.

The author, Taylor Stevens, grew up in one of those cults until she was able to escape. She now writes about an incredibly strong woman who fights for the right. Her books are not suitable for reading during church. However, I recommend reading her second volume, The Innocent. The hero enters a cult to rescue one girl and must fight her way out.

The point of reading such a book is to get an insider’s look at such a life. Something I had not realized is that these cults move to other countries every time the police get too close.

What does that have to do with Acts, you ask? Following a leader who demands everything and gives nothing in return is not Biblical. The only thing Jesus asked of us is to love God and love one another.

If we read every red-letter word of Jesus, we should understand that loving God and loving others means that we will be willing to give all we have to help those in need.

Read my earlier comments on this theme here.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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