They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common… (from Acts 2:42-47)
This image makes us think these first Christian communities lived an idealized life. The writer is not intending to gloss over problems or challenges in the early Christian communities. They lived in the real world too. But even in this idealized story, we can feel their joy as they learned and grew together. Their joy in Christ is directly related to their spiritual growth as koinonia. Koinonia simply means Christian fellowship–sharing of knowledge, faith, service, and the ups and downs of life among those who are called into community by God, but which is lived in real life. Which means that we can’t, and the church can’t, live on mountain top experiences or decades of accumulated idealized memories. History is important, but we can’t live on that either. Buildings, programs, polity are important, but they, too, cannot give us the joy and energy to be koinonia. Being koinonia in today’s world has its challenges. But I think that makes the work of finding our joy and passion as a community of faith even more vital. Finding our joy in Christ together can inspire us, and fuel new aspirations that will carry us forward into God’s amazing, mysterious, and joy-filled mission.