38th Day of Easter: Community

The followers of Jesus stayed together in community between the ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost.  Acts 1:12 tells us “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.  When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying.”  Isolation, quarantine is our modern day solution to “viruses” that we do not understand and that seem to threaten our health. While working in East Africa, I often visited hospitals and visited the sick and usually there were four to a hospital bed with the relatives who brought food sleeping under the bed on the floor.  Grief and changed were handled in community.  We see that with the apostles as they attempt to sort out how life was changing for them.  Community is one way to handle those in-between times.

         As the person deals with the emotions of the transition, others join together to do the work of the transition like preparing and feeding the guests and well-wishers.  We say many hands make light work.

         Similarly, I find as an “idea” person, I function best when I have “detail” people helping me as I tend to not think about important details.  I’m sure there was “group think” as they sat around and shared what each noticed and as they put their heads together to understand.  Every witness at an accident will remember it slightly differently and will remember details slightly differently.  Sharing helps to see the big picture.

         Community confirms the report from our senses.  Perhaps you have seen the classroom experiment where volunteers are blind folded and then given food.  The volunteer may have difficulty telling an apple from a potato because the texture is the same and without the eyes to see, it can be confusing.  Community expands the perception of the experience but it also confirms the experience.

         Have you heard the saying, “Count to ten before you respond”?  Withdrawing into community provides a buffer time for healing from grief,  sorting out experiences, and affirmation before the next task is undertaken.

         So perhaps the question to reflect on today is to ask, “Where is my community?”  Who has my back?  Who helps me sort through life when I am confused?  Church worship functions in some ways like this, like community.  Church is a place where we can retreat on Sunday and recenter our thinking, be challenged with the pastor’s perspective on a scripture that reminds us of a bigger picture involving a God who loves us and a Savior who travels with us.  Before Covid there was often a coffee hour and fellowship.  Community is important and valuable.  The apostles withdrew to community.  We still need community today.  Blessings.

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