They shared everything they had. Acts 4:32
On the wall over my desk is a reproduction of The Trinity, the 15th-century icon by Andrei Rublev. Three persons symbolizing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sit in a circle around the table looking at each other in perfect unity of mind and heart. They stretch their right hands to the cup in the centre—the sacrifice and the Eucharist—blessing it, sharing in it. There is also an empty seat at that table: an open invitation. Come, drink!
The icon is at my eye level, and whenever I look up from my computer, I am reminded that I am seated at the table of my God, participating in the life of ever-giving love. God knows the depth of my need for wholeness, joy, fulfillment, acceptance, and so much more, and God shares with me everything God has.
Rublev’s warm translucent golds point to a transfigured reality, how in Christ everything is new. Similarly, Luke paints for us here an icon of a transformed community: those who have freely received give freely. The life of Jesus has been poured out for them and into them; it is now pulsating in their hearts, enabling them to live out of great grace and with great power.
Having experienced true hospitality in Christ, they extend their tables, break cultural divides, lift each other up, and refuse to be defined by social prejudice or economic status. In this family no one is excluded, neither the wealthy nor the poor. Everyone belongs at the table of the Lord, let's make space. Come, eat! Come, drink! There is enough for all of us. Luke paints the icon of life together as an ongoing Eucharist, where sharing is thanksgiving.
It is a beautiful and challenging image. Luke urges us to examine everything we stamp as "mine" -my time, my money, my education and career, my home, my leisure, my family, even my faith - to see how all of these are good gifts, freely shared with us and enabling us to notice someone else's need. And sometimes, when we run dry, it is okay to receive. There might be an unexpected guest at our table, from Cyprus or further away, who will throw in their lot with us and encourage us to keep going.
And as someone who is involved in community building (aren’t we all), I pray that we will see our communities as the work of our generous God happening right here in and through us.
Holy Spirit, give us the eyes to see.