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April 7, 2024

The Great Sense of Solidarity

Pastor KJ Kim

Acts 4: 32-37; 5: 1-4

In today’s passage, the believers of Easter messages gather in one place as they are one in heart and mind. In spite of their fear or anxiety of being captured by the Roman Empire, the community of Easter believers have a great sense of solidarity, which we need the most today—the sense of solidarity—making people stay one in heart and mind.

From the Book of Acts, we can see a glimpse of how the believers’ lives should look: They are new leaders, doing signs and wonders, having glad and generous hearts, giving their lives over to God in joy and gladness, breaking bread together and eating together, and having an Easter festival every day. And finally, they had to think about money and make a budget for their community. We are told that they solved the money issue promptly because they had glad and generous hearts.

Barnabas gives his wealth over to the common good, and we are told in verse 43, “There was not a needy person among them,” because all shared with all. Then, there is a counter-narrative in the book of Acts, chapter 5, the very next paragraph after today’s passage; this story concerns two church members—Sapphira and her husband, Ananias.

I do believe the author of today’s passage has an intention of making the two stories--that are designed to be quite parallel. Both had property. Both sold property. Both gave to the church. However, only Barnabas was honest and forthcoming, while Ananias and Sapphira were depicted as cheaters and died.

The two stories from today’s passage in the Book of Acts and the play can be a nice and big wake-up call, especially for this season of Easter. Look at the world. We are often tempted to join and run the rat race; we often imagine scarcity, leading us to hunger for more and more for ourselves. But I believe Barnabas could only sell his possessions for a community because he truly believed in Easter and lived out the resurrection life.

Barnabas wanted to exemplify and build a community where there would be none in need, and there would be great Easter joy. This is the gospel alternative. And this story is about dwelling in solidarity as Easter believers.

In today’s world, solidarity seems impossible. Maybe, like a doubting Thomas, we might doubt and seek evidence—what is good for solidarity. Or, like the couple Ananias and Sapphira,
we might refuse solidarity—not to fully give or surrender ourselves to God, but to only partially give or surrender ourselves to God.

Barnabas, in today’s passage, still invites us to become true Easter believers, those who become one in heart and mind, sharing all we have and choosing solidarity—a new life for all—for all God’s people and community.

Thanks be to God.

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