Community is experienced in so many ways. There is the community, or town where we live, but there are much smaller subsidiaries of connection that are even more significant. Church is a great place to find community--in fact the Bible itself encourages the living out of relationships in close proximity.
In our bus Bible time, we are continuing our study in Acts and today we read chapter 5 where the church begins to explode in numbers. The sick are brought out to the streets so even the shadow of Peter and John might touch and heal the infirmed. This kind of activity was hard for the Jewish leaders to ignore--especially since they were being blamed for crucifying Christ. So they hauled Peter and John in and had them beaten and forbade them to speak further of Christ. Later, we see how generously the new Christians were with one another--selling land and property and leaving the money at the apostles’ feet for the benefit of everyone. One couple decides to give part of the proceeds and claim to donate the full amount. They die for their sin of lying to the Holy Spirit and that creates such a stir that even more people are added to the new community of believers. Does God take our honest commitment to each other seriously? It appears so! There is power in community.
How does Luke’s depiction of the early church apply to us today? How does it apply to the community we become on choir tour? We are finding out!
A trip like this begins with everyone in high spirits and feeling gracious towards neighbors and seat mates. But then there are the short nights. And the long days. And the lines to the bathrooms. And the people who talk too much. And chew too loudly. And who are not generous with their secret stash of treats. And the debates about movie selections. At the end of the day, everyone gets on stage in their black and white best and sings their hearts out about Jesus. And the irritations melt away as voices blend and harmonies meld. Musicians listen to the person on their left and on their right and adjust their pitch accordingly. There is one beat that everyone follows, one director that all eyes watch. And it’s about more than just you. It’s about the community. It's about the group: Everyone singing the right notes, at the right time, in the right volume is crucial. As one, the choir inhales and forces air through their larynxes. The result is felt as much as it is heard and souls rise on the swell of the combined voices. This is community.
We are at Our Redeemer’s LB in Minot and are headed to Jamestown to connect with our friends at Victory as we celebrate time with our extended family across North Dakota.