In my last blog I reminded you that we all live in a multi-coloured and multi-layered environment called the ‘oikos’ or ‘household’. This vibrant life giving environment acted as the nursery for the early church. In Acts 2, after the outpouring of the Spirit on the church at Pentecost, we are given a glorious thumbnail sketch of the church in verses 42 – 47. What I find most surprising are verses 46 and 47.
In Acts 2 the church explodes into life seeing growth both in heart and in size. They seek to live as those made anew by Jesus and their testimony to this is found in verse 42 where it says ‘they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of breads and to prayer.’ But where did they do all of this? Yes, they did meet in the Temple but they would have only gone there for the times of scheduled prayer. Instead, the heart of this life was in their home.
When they met in homes they did not do so to meet as a home group or even as missional communities, instead they met as families. It was as families that they learned not only to share resources but to worship, to learn, to pray and to grow in knowing Jesus. Yes, I know they functioned as families in a very different way we do because a significant part of their household DNA was their Middle Eastern culture of hospitality. So at their meal tables you would expect to find friends, neighbours, as well as family members, but this was to extend the household, not replace it.
Ever since lockdown happened in March we have all experienced a sudden shift in the focus of how we function as church. We function now predominantly not in our building but in our homes. Thus, when you enter your house and close your front door you have entered a place for worship. When you enter your house and close your front door you have entered a place to break bread. When you enter your house and close your front door you have entered a place to learn as you devote yourself to the apostles’ teaching. When you enter your house and close your front door you enter a place to be in fellowship in all the messiness that is 4D family life.
Instead of me asking you, ‘Is this how you think?’ I will ask ‘Do you realise that this is what you’ve been doing since March?’ Your home, your household, is your sacred space. It is the place for ritual and for rites. It is the place for living out the fruit of the Spirit and for exercising his gifts. It is the space where the light and life of Jesus are to shine clearest.
It is the place that Acts 2 describes as the ‘oikos’, the space where we know Jesus and make Jesus known.