Every year during the Church season of Easter, our first reading on Sundays comes from the book of Acts in the New Testament. We replace our Old Testament readings with different verses from the book of Acts. This practice goes back to the very foundations of Christianity and started sometime before the 4th century. The reasoning for this tradition is that in The Three Days leading up to Easter, we read a lot from the old testament (specifically during the Easter Vigil) to tell us the story of our salvation - from the Garden of Eden to the Hill at Golgotha.
The book of Acts is full of the stories of the Early Christians trying to work out how to be the church. It is important to remember that at the beginning of Christianity there was no manual to consult; there were no famous theologians to look to for advice; there wasn’t even a Bible until the end of the fourth century. Early Christians were doing the best with what they had to work with. Unsurprisingly there were a lot of different ideas on what it meant to be a follower of Christ. These differing opinions were much bigger even than the divisions we see between Protestant, Chatholic, and Orthox Christians today.
The books of Acts, or as it is sometimes called, the Acts of the Apostles, chronicles the hard work and persistence it took to form faithful individuals to get the church started. Dedication from the apostles like Peter and Paul helped to spread and build and grow the church wherever they went. Eventually early Christians were able to come to some shared consensus despite vast contextual and cultural differences between groups of people. Even though they faced many challenges inside and outside of the church, one thing remained constant - everything the apostles did was out of love for God and their neighbor.
When loving God and loving our neighbor are the driving force behind all our actions, we too are able to achieve amazing things in the name of Jesus Christ, whom all things are possible.