One Big Family
Updated: May 5, 2020
Family reunions have unfortunately started to become a thing of the past. I can remember when I was a younger having these gatherings and being around people who I hadn’t seen since the previous reunion. It was always incredible to play with cousins, swim for hours in the pool, and eat A TON of dessert.
As a young kid you’re not really too concerned with catching up with lost relatives and distant relations. For a kid, you simply see someone else your age, ask them to play, and instantly become best friends.
However, for the adults at these reunions it was a time for them to come together an catch up on all the events that had taken place in their lives. It was a time for everyone to reminisce over old memories. It was a time for them to come together and strengthen the bond of family.
The reason these reunions have started to be left in the past is because of social media entities like Facebook. We no longer need to have one mass social gathering to catch up with lost family because all we need to do is press on one particular phone app.
All of a sudden the world is literally at our finger tips. Simply by scrolling through our Facebook feeds we can very easily come to know more than we probably even wanted about our long lost relatives.
But, does Facebook replace community?
With everything that is ensuing all around the world, communities and families have taken to moving everything online. It certainly is a blessing that we have the ability to keep in touch in this way, but it seems that online interaction is artificial in nature.
A “post like” certainly isn’t a substitute for an authentic smile. A “comment reply” will never replace a full-fledged conversation. And no emoji, regardless of what it may be, could ever replace the warm feeling of a hug.
If there is anything to be realized during this time of moving the church online, it’s that there is something powerful in our meeting together.
This doesn’t mean churches should disobey government suggestions and regulations during this pandemic. However, we should certainly assess the impact that the separation of community is having within our faith and come to realize why gathering together is such a vital aspect of our worship.
We should have already known this though, especially since it is such a prominent part of the story of the Church’s formation. Just read what the beginning of Acts says about the importance of meeting together.
“44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47)
What’s interesting to me about this text was how obviously important it was to the original followers of Christ to be constantly meeting together. It says here that they met every day in the Temple, which would be where they worshipped, but they also were constantly meeting together to “break bread.”
This means everything about the early Church’s lives was done communally. They were literally one big family.
The early Church didn’t simply meet together for the sake of seeing each other, gossiping, and blowing smoke, but in their continual gatherings they were constantly joining in worship.
If they weren’t meeting in the Temple for worship, they were still worshipping when they were breaking bread. They were remembering what Christ did as He broke bread during the disciples’ last supper with Him.
Moreover, this passage says that the believers, “held all things in common.” Meaning, not only were they a constant community, but they were joined together in the same way a family would be. They were a unified organism.
Now, this is not to say that the Church today should meet every single day and constantly be in each other’s homes even during a pandemic. However, I think during this pandemic we should come to realize just how powerful and important community truly is.
The question we need to ask ourselves as the Church goes through such a monumental cultural shift is, “How do we maintain community, even though we aren’t able to meet?”
Hopefully, we will get back to meeting together soon, and maybe something like this will never happen again. But we need to be prepared.
Community is a distinct part of our identity as Christians. Community with the body of Christ is what binds us together. Therefore it is essential that we foster and fuel the flame of this community as much as possible.
So I think we all need to ask ourselves, “How have we continually engaged within our family of believers in a time when we can’t be together? What can we do to keep meeting together, even when we can’t meet in person?”
I can’t WAIT until we can meet in person again! But, for the time being, we have to learn how to continue growing together, even though we are apart.
Questions for Reflection
1. What has been the most beneficial aspect of the community of believers within your life personally? How has belonging to the family of Christ strengthened you throughout life?
2. What are some ideas that you have that could help foster community during a time of crisis, such as the one we are currently experiencing?
3. What differences do you see between the community of the New Testament Church and the community of the Church today? How can we better mimic the family of the early Church?