Very soon I will have brothers living on both coasts, one in Manhattan and the other in Cape Meares, Oregon. I will be part of the “fly-over-states”. Our nation is so mobile in some ways and yet so cocooned. We have become more isolated and disconnected. Virtual is the word of the day. Shop on line, pay bills on line, and (look at me) write on line. If you are social it means you are on Facebook. Community seems a quaint idea. It takes a “what” to raise a child? Alvin Toffler as a futurist got a lot of this right in his estimations of where we are headed.
Someone called me the other day and wants to rent a room at our church for a family reunion. She was so sweet, appreciative, and excited on the phone. I remember as a young boy attending family reunions on my mother’s side of the family. I could never understand why she disliked them so much. I was interested and curious and wished we didn’t live so far away from all those interesting quirky people. I guess ultimately we need to seek community if we want it. Even though we are made for community we’ve got to take some initiative. The Church offers some of this but it has its own quirky Aunt Cecilia’s and Uncle Darrel’s to deal with. Jesus chose twelve apostles. He formed a small group as he launched off on his mission. His small group may have had one too many in it. This is how it was recorded, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to teach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Mark 3) It is our rebellion against the Creator that leads to isolation. Although we need time apart, time for prayer, and time to meditate we are built for community. How we engage in community is always a personal challenge. Building community offers some unique and lasting possibilities and pitfalls. Some of you find community at work, some in a large extended family, others in a Bible study, and others at school. Find it.
Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15) Isolation is tempting – no hurts – fewer tears but it is not who we are.