by Rev. Brendan Curran, Assoc. Minister         –          Apr. 15, 2019

“Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them.” -Acts 4:32-34

Resurrection marks the destination of our 40-day Lenten journey and the beginning of a new life.  This passage from Acts tells the story of how the early Christians experienced the resurrected Christ in community with one other, by sharing all things in common.  As a community of one compassionate heart, they cared for each other and provided for each other’s needs.  When we do likewise, we see the Resurrected Christ.  We see God made flesh among us.  We see God’s love and justice made real and present. 

This year, during Lent, many of us have been preparing to see resurrection by exploring how we can, “share all things in common.”  During meaningful after church speaker/conversation series, meditation nights, and study groups we realized how we share so many fears and hopes in common.  On service projects like our trip to Matthewson St. Church we realize that whether we are privileged or destitute, our needs for connection, food, shelter, and warmth are things we all share.  With the RI conference of the UCC’s justice and witness ministry, the poor people’s campaign, and Water is Life RI, some of us joined in prayer at “Water Vigils,” with members of the Pokanoket tribe and the extended community.  We gathered in prayer to honor how we all share God’s gift of the water of creation, “in common.”  Together, our prayer circles, advocacy work, community education and our awareness raising worked to effectively stop the privatization and selling of God’s gift of water that we all thankfully still, “share in common.” 

Prayer really does change things.  Together we are bringing the love and justice of Jesus to our community in all the ways we are joining with others and honoring the gifts of life that we all share.  On the evening of March 21st, the Barrington Interfaith Partners invited our church and the community to an evening of learning about indigenous history, traditions, and storytelling with members of the Pokanoket Nation, the original people of Barrington (and RI.)  People of all faiths, backgrounds, and traditions, joined hands in a wide circle and danced a beautiful round to the beating of the drum that the Pokanoket tribe calls, “the heartbeat of the Nation.”  For a moment we were all one circle.  For a moment we were all, “of one heart and soul,” and could experience the beauty of sharing this life and this Earth in common.

During Holy Week, when we make the final journey of Lent to the cross and to Easter morning, a group of us will be going to the H.O.M.E. cooperative in Orland Maine.  As a cooperative they also practice sharing everything in common.  Resources, volunteer efforts, different jobs, and various responsibilities are all shared to run a homeless shelter, a thrift store, a kitchen that offers meals, and build houses for low income families in need.  The sharing of resources, time, and cooperative effort makes sure that no one is left out or in need in any way. 

This is how we live resurrection.  This way of being is truly possible.  The early Christians practiced sharing everything in common and we strive to continue this work today.  When we give ourselves to the work of expanding the circle of inclusion, the work of being of one heart and soul with this world, the work of giving ourselves to each other and to creation with a loving and grateful heart, we begin to see God dwelling among us.  We get glimpses of the resurrected Christ moving with us, dancing with us in one great circle that we all share in together.  Let’s keep sharing and keep our eyes wide open to see the living Christ among us as Easter approaches.