I know a fellow. Left the Catholic Church in his youth — like many of us left the churches of our parents — as he couldn’t cope with the rules, the paper-thin veneer of faith, whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.
I think for most thinking folks the faith of our folks — no matter how well intentioned — seem that way. We need to find a way to make it our own.
My friend in Christ is now worshipping with the Presbyterians. And he’s finding Presbyterianism pushing all the same buttons as the Catholicism of his ill-spent youth. His constant refrain: I’m looking for an Acts 2 church. He’s looking for a vibrant faith. He’s looking for the winds of the Spirit. He’s looking for faith with signs following.
When I look to signs following I see a community for whom whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. and again all the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. I’m not sure how comfortable I would be in such a church — but that seems to be Luke’s clear implication — you got the spirit — the institution of private ownership ceases to exist for you. Voluntary anarchic socialism — located at the level of the church congregation and not at the level of the state.
Paul warns us, but as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
Miracles exist for two reasons. One to mark a fresh blowing of God’s spirit — to draw attention to a new way of being the church. Two, to offset the limitations and injustices of this world and give us a hint of what could be — is — truly possible. When that possibility hinted at in miracles becomes a reality, the signs will no longer be needed. And as Paul promised, then faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.