Week 3 of a six-week series called Expanding the Table. The early followers of Jesus struggled with not knowing where God was leading them and how to do the mission and ministry of Jesus, while still wanting to hold onto their traditions and rituals even when it excluded others who wanted to be in relationship with Jesus and the larger gathered people of God. The church, the body of Christ, the larger community was divided. The teachings of Jesus came secondary to human motivations, agendas and interpretations. Throughout history, the Church has struggled with this. And yet, here, the apostles came together - from wherever they were in the known world, they travelled back to Jerusalem to listen to each other, to speak thoughtfully to each other, to have good healthy relationships with good and healthy civil discourse. Grace was the priority. Sharing the good news in love was the priority. Being a model of Jesus’ inclusiveness and welcome was a priority. It was a core value.
In this six-week series, we look at how the followers of Jesus after his crucifixion went from disciples to apostles. Jesus instructed them that they were to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. But this commission wasn't as easy as they anticipated. Conflict arose with the growing numbers of followers. They had to figure out how to be a gathered community of Jesus across the world. They had to discover what it means to expand the table. Being a follower of Jesus no longer meant that you came from a certain people, place, or nation.