And being set free, they came to their own and reported to them what the chief priests and elders said.Acts 4:23 LITV
This week I’ve read or heard several disturbing things about the state of our society. On one program, I heard a very secular group talking about their disappointment with the church during the pandemic. Among other things, they couldn’t grasp why so many churches seemed to be just as fearful as the rest of the world. One lady even said, “If they were open, I would have gone.” In another treatise, the rage we saw in the riots last summer was attributed to the fact that our society no longer has family, especially fatherly, connections that teach young men to control anger, work hard, and be responsible. These things used to come from stable families, church connections, and schools that taught patriotism. None of these are common any longer. Our young men are adrift looking for a place to be and a group to identify with.
The effect of church involvement on fatherhood and families should be obvious. In addition, the church was at one time the center of the community for many. It provided activities deemed wholesome as well as examples of decent people doing the painful/joyful work of life together. It also provided a place to have moral absolutes reinforced. Somewhere along the way, church has often deteriorated to a Sunday morning concert followed by a pseudo-psychological (or political) infomercial and a cup of Starbucks.
In the verse above, Peter and John faced persecution for their preaching. Their first response was to “come to their own.” That’s what the language actually says. Many different words have been added in various translations: own people, own group, own friends, etc. I think I like it just as it is. We all need a place to go, a group to appeal to, who we know to be our own. We are safe. We are loved. We are accepted. We can be corrected, redirected, and sent back to the fray knowing that someone is praying for us. I am so grateful that today I get to go be with my own. I hope you have the same expectation. If not, come on down. We’d love you to be one of our own See you in church.