Bringing the Text to Life

Stand Together or Fall Apart Acts 2:1-21

The time is long overdue for Christians to think in terms of "We" rather than "I." The biblical focus is on the community. God''s answer to the human predicament was to create a new community, to start a family. Individuals gain their identity by belonging to the community, and the community finds fulfillment in the individual.

Among all the miracles contained in the books of the Second Testament, perhaps the most astounding is the emergence out of a scattered, disheartened, confused, and weak collection of a few hesitant believers the enduring foundations of the Christian church. How did this happen? What enabled this tattered remnant to weave itself into the "seamless robe of Christ"? Their secret was no secret. Beginning with the event of Pentecost the early Christian believers devoted themselves wholeheartedly to building a distinctive community of faith, unique to the world.

The radically new nature of these early Christian communities is made apparent when the bonds of social cohesion uniting other groups are examined. Social scientist Rene Girard has developed the thesis that "human communitites prior and outside the Christian revelation, develop out of an act of violence which unites all over - against one." (See Thomas Wieser, "Community - Its Unity, Diversity and Universality," Semeia 33 (1985),...

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