Creating “oikos” in a digital world…


Acts 2:37 Now when (the people listening to Peter’s preaching) heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 

Two things stand out for me today. First there is v.40 “And he testified with many other arguments…”. Like Jesus before them, the surviving apostles would employ miraculous healings and signs to draw people to the gospel, but not in this case. Peter uses logic and reason to demonstrate to the hearers that Jesus is the promised Messiah. For some “thinker” types this was perhaps more appealing than miracles.

Secondly I’m drawn to v.42 and the description of the Christian community that emerged from the gospel. It’s a picture of “oikos” which in Greek means an extended family of blood and non-blood relations. This kind of community became the incubator through which the converts became committed disciples of Jesus. And it’s the kind of community many churches are lacking right now during the pandemic. “Oikos” includes both formal time (bible study, prayer time, worship) and informal time (fellowship, breaking bread). We’ve managed to reproduce some of the formal activity via online gatherings, but much of the informal gathering has disappeared – especially for those who are wary of gathering in person.

And I expect that digital community is here to stay even after it becomes safe to gather in person in larger numbers. How do we produce oikos online? We have learned some over the last several months, but it’s only a beginning. This will be a high priority for the church going forward. Lord show us the way. Amen.

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