There is a lot of talk in Christian circles about community. It conveys family, closeness and deep friendships. The strongest Bible statement about community is Luke 2:44.
Luke 2:44 shows us what community is. Several families had traveled from Nazareth to Jerusalem for Passover. When it was time to return north, the families departed. What screams, community is that the parents of Jesus did not look for him until they had traveled a day’s journey north.
This means that:
- There was such a tight-knit, comradery among relatives and friends that it was assumed the Jesus was close by as the caravan set out.
- Joseph and Mary did not check to see if Jesus was with them.
- Several young couples had the attitude, “Your kids are my kids and my kids are your kids and we all belong to each other.”
- For several hours – assuming the trip north started at first light – had gone by without Joseph and Mary checking about their Son.
- Other youth may have been close to them, so Joseph and Mary assumed Jesus was among them.
- It means James, Joseph, Simon, Judas; plus at least two sisters, the biological half-brothers / half-sisters of Jesus may have occupied Joseph and Mary and they had so much confidence in the traveling group that they did not think of Jesus (Matthew 13:55).
The closest thing we have experienced about community is among evangelical missionaries. Once a person leaves the continental United States, there is a all-for-one, one for all mentality among missionaries. There is a sense of belonging to each other; a grand fraternity of the faith. An awareness that they are all involved in the grand enterprise called the Gospel.
So if it is lunch time, and my kids are at your house, my kids eat the lunch you provide. If your family is at my home at dinner time, we all tummy up to the table and eat whatever’s in the frig. It means if you need a ride and I am going semi-near where you need to go, you’ve got a ride and I wait if necessary to bring you home. It means we are family.
We arrived in Singapore. Bob Howder picked us up at the airport. “Who are we staying with,” I asked as we left the airport. “You will be with Norm and Louise Barnard.” I thought, “Okay, I do not know them, we’d never met them but we will get acquainted.”
We arrived and carried our bags upstairs and plopped down to sit. “Where are Norm & Louise,” I asked? “Oh there are in the States, they will be here in a few days.”