Shake, act, go, do.
They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people (Acts 2:36-47).
Her vision took off brilliantly and boldly in 1770. At that time, Ann Lee founded the Shakers in England. Lee later moved to America to continue her vision that informed four basic tenets: communal living, celibacy, regular confession of sins, and separation from the outside world. To rigorously follow these tenets? This meant that this group could achieve perfection.
The Shakers reached their zenith around 1830. At this time, more than 18 Shaker communities stretched over the American landscape from Kentucky to Maine. Spanning the last 200 years, over 20,000 Americans have spent at least a fraction of their lives as Shakers.
The Shakers are not the community Luke writes about in Acts 2, though similarities are clear and obvious. Like the practices those who gathered at the Temple each day and shared meals with great joy and generosity, the Shaker life assured spiritual and physical equality. Non-Christians and all races were welcome if they agreed to the four principles mentioned.
Let’s agree that the Christian values established in Acts 2 are worth continuing so that Jesus’ liberating justice and equality can be shared at the table. Shakers believed in gender equality. Slavery had no place in their culture. Let’s agree that more shackles need to be broken so that more celebrations can be shared today.
PRAYER: Lord, help us learn more about liberation, inclusion, and gender and racial equality. Help us practice being a community that lives in great joy and generosity. Draw us back in order to go forward for the goodwill of all people. Amen.