When I am introducing Holy Habits to groups, I always ask two or three people to read Acts 2:42–47 and then invite everyone to say which words or phrases they particularly noticed. I then encourage people as they journey with Holy Habits to keep returning to the text and notice what they notice. Each time we return to the text, we may notice something different.
In these difficult days, my attention has been drawn to the little reference that Luke makes in verse 46, when he says, ‘They broke bread at home’ (NRSV).
Amidst the very serious challenges of the coronavirus, we are all having to adapt to different patterns of living and different ways of being church, given that we can no longer congregate as we did, for a while at least. I once heard the noted professor of New Testament, James Dunn, giving a lecture on Acts. He pointed out that by the end of the period covered by Acts, there was no church too big to not be able to fit into a home. So the picture that Luke paints in chapter 2 is his normative representation of how fruitful Christian communities were formed in the beginning – at home.
Might the renewed interest in Acts 2:42–47 be for such a time as this? Might we in the midst of these trying times rediscover the value of the home as a place of worship, prayer, the sharing of resources, gladness and generosity, etc.? Many disciples and churches are doing this in varied and creative ways, including lighting candles of prayers, live-streaming acts of worship and caring in practical ways for vulnerable neighbours.
Intriguingly, the habit that Luke links directly to the home context was breaking bread. Could we make this a regular habit in our homes as we give thanks for the food we have and the gift of salvation that bread blessed, broken and shared represents? Could we pray for others in need of food, healing and the wholeness of salvation?