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Beautiful Community 

Beautiful Community


God on Monday
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‘They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’ (Acts 2.46-47)


The international organization A Rocha seeks to share God’s love for creation through environmental research, conservation, and education. When Miranda and Peter Harris founded it in 1983, Miranda was given a very tight budget to furnish its first residential field study centre.

Miranda’s passion for hospitality meant she blew most of this budget on a large old handmade wooden table. But it became the heart of the house and around it, a vibrant community emerged that over the years has attracted countless people across the world to take part in A Rocha’s community-based environmental programmes. In doing so, the table has functioned as the community’s chapel.

As human beings are inherently social, they are attracted to vibrant communities. We can see this reflected in Acts 2, cited above. Three thousand new Christian converts devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, hospitality, prayer, care for the poor, and to holding everything in common.

In our ruggedly individualistic age, this might sound like a set of burdensome obligations. Not so for these new believers, who broke bread in each other’s homes and ‘ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.‘ What a beautiful picture of an authentic community! The positive impact of such a community was evident in the favour it found in wider society, and in the daily stream of new recruits.

In true community, beauty is at work. We may not have a beautiful home or a beautiful workplace in which to express the hospitality that community demands. But that does not matter. One of Miranda Harris‘ key principles on hospitality is that we just need to start practising it, using whatever we have. No special culinary skills nor matching cutlery are required.

All that is needed for a beautiful and transformative community are the kind of glad, sincere and worshipping hearts we find in Acts 2 – hearts that are oriented not towards ourselves but towards God and other people, especially those in need. 


Imagine what the call to hospitality and community might mean for you, not only in your home life but in your work life. Resolve to take the first step, however small, towards living out that calling.


Lord Jesus, you ate at so many tables, with so many flawed human beings, that you were deemed ‘a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners’ (Mt 11.19). Make us agents of vibrant and inclusive communities, both in our domestic and in our working lives. Amen.

Next Steps

Miranda Harris and her daughter Jo Swinney tell the story of A Rocha’s commitment to hospitality and community in A Place at the Table: Faith, Hope and Hospitality (2022). A great holiday read this summer!

This Week's Author

Peter Heslam, Director, Faith in Business.
CoE-FiB GoM54 86 Peter Heslam

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God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment.  

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