One of my AF military career responsibilities was to serve on “Mobility Lines.” This was either an exercise (practice) to see if our military personnel had all their gear in order, ready for deployment, or it was “real world,” and they were getting ready to load up onto a plane taking off into an Area of Operation.
I was in a Mobility Line with hundreds of Airmen headed to Bondsteel Base in Kosovo to support the ongoing conflict in 1998. I was talking to a Med Group that was headed over, and I asked an Airman, “How are you doing? Are you ready to go?” He answered, not with “I am okay, but WE are okay. He said, “I’m not afraid because I’m with my family, and we will take care of each other.” The unit personnel around him affirmed the airman with high fives! We are family!
This is a moment that has and will stay with me. It is our church mission and commitment to respond in the same way. The church is a family, and we will get through the pandemic TOGETHER as a family.
In a famous study on relationships, Harvard scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938 during the Great Depression. The world’s longest studies of adult life. The study concluded that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships have a powerful effect on our health – Robert Waldinger, director of the study, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. Those who maintained relationships lived longer and happier. Conclusion: Loneliness can kill as much as smoking or alcoholism. The key to healthy living is relationships, relationships, relationships.
Our growth in Jesus Christ requires healthy church family relationships. One of the good things that the pandemic has taught us is that family is necessary, important, and challenging. The following passage is a snapshot of the NT church. At Pentecost, after the coming of the Holy Spirit, the gathering of 120 exploded! In one day, three thousand people came to faith in Christ. Now, what do they do?
Acts 2:42-47, “They (1) devoted (persistent & regular) themselves to the apostles’ (2) teaching and to the (3) fellowship, to the (4) breaking of bread and to (5) prayer” (they had close relationships, more than getting together, more than a religious meeting – sharing goods, sharing in the Lord’s Supper, the breaking of bread, communion services and praying together).
“Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met” (The Message).
This awe was because of the miraculous “signs” and “wonders” given by the Holy Spirit to authenticate and point toward the divine source of the miracle and/or truth. We are a church family that shares the same Biblical convictions, values, and goals with the church in Acts 2. We are interdependent. We encourage, pray, support, edify one another, share burdens, build up each other, serving together. We are family bonded by history, experience, and the Blood of the Lamb (Jesus). As a family, we accept, love, and forgive one another. We are a church family committed to each other, attending our worship service every week in person or online (Hebrews 10:24-25).
We are TOGETHER. We are FAMILY.
With love and prayer,