By Pastor Bill Mugford
We want “Getting to Zero!” to mean that people living with HIV&AIDS and their families and friends NEVER encounter a church or Christians that are dangerous!
The Early Church was a wonderful and safe place for everyone who became a part of that compassionate community: they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42–47. Further, even the quickest overview of this text demonstrates that the Primitive Church set the standard for real solutions to challenging life problems by ensuring that all kinds of practical needs were met for those who became part of the family of faith.
Yet, there is an insight that may escape us if we do not think carefully of the church’s welcome and work in this passage. Note that, everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles, Acts 2:43. “Wonders and signs” is code for the fact that the church welcomed in those who were sick and needed healing. In fact, almost all of the miracles performed by Jesus and his disciples were on behalf of the sick. Secondly, it is God who is healing the sick by working through the performance of the apostles. The Early Church practically trusted God with their sick and acted in accordance with his will to pray for them.
The bottom line is this; anyone who joined the Early Church is assured a place where real solutions to any need, including the needs of the sick, are addressed and met. The Church is the safest place in a dangerous world. Tragically, people living with HIV&AIDS and their families and friends often feel that culture is safer and the community of faith is more dangerous.
Let today’s prayer be: “Jesus, Lord of the Church and Lord of my life. Let my church be a place where we welcome the well and the sick, and everyone without exception experiences the safety of a community completely devoted to the Gospel, grace, and your will and work. Let us praise God and enjoy the favor of all people. And Lord, add to our number daily those who are being saved. Amen.”