This summer I went to a family reunion picnic. It was a fun time and I got to see a lot of relatives I hadn’t seen in a while. It reminded me of my roots and gave me a real sense of belonging. It also made me think of our Church Family. The past couple of years have been very different, difficult, and disruptive in our family and even in our Church Family. Differences in thought about Covid and some social issues sent some people away from church who never came back. It became easier to stay at home in our pajamas than actually be a part of the Body in person. It became easier to stop volunteering to help or be involved in any way at the church. More and more of us became consumers only instead of working members of the Body of Christ.

Now that the pandemic is over, maybe we need a Family Reunion here! Maybe we need an opportunity to connect fully again and come back to our Discovery Family! I decided to look at how the early church followed Jesus’ instruction. How did they survive amidst persecution, fear, and a society that went against everything that Jesus taught? How do we not only survive, but thrive today amidst some of the same obstacles that they faced? I only had to look at the Word of God to get some answers.

  • Love one another (John 13:34 – This command occurs at least 16 times!)
  • Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10
  • Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:1
  • Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16
  • Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Be likeminded towards one another (Romans 15:5)
  • Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
  • Admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16)
  • Greet one another (Romans 16:16)
  • Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  • Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  • Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Colossians 3:13)
  • Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)
  • Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25)
  • Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19)
  • Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:5)
  • Consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)
  • Look to the interests of one another (Philippians 2:4)
  • Bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)
  • Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)
  • Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  • Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13)
  • Stir up [provoke, stimulate] one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)
  • Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
  • Employ the gifts that God has given us for the benefit of one another (1 Peter 4:10)
  • Clothe yourselves with humility towards one another (1 Peter 5:5)
  • Pray for one another (James 5:16)
  • Confess your faults to one another (James 5:16)

But how can we possibly do all these things? Acts 2:42 says that “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” It’s such a simple verse and yet I began to wonder if we at Discovery are fulfilling that. Is our Church Family united as much as the early church was? Are we truly one Body or just separate parts? And if we’re just separate parts, what can we do to become the one Body that Jesus calls us to be? Is it just as simple as studying God’s Word together, fellowshipping together, partaking of the Lord’s Supper together, and praying together? The operative word I saw here is “together”. It makes sense that the only way a Church is truly united and able to follow the “one anothers” is if they are truly together. We live in scary times. Things are changing rapidly all around us and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better.

Another thing our family did this summer was go to see “Queen Esther” at Sight and Sound in Branson, MO. Esther definitely lived in difficult times and yet she responded by realizing that she was placed at that time and place for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). I believe we also are all here in this time and place “for such a time as this”. We need each other now and will need each other even more as our world continues to change and set the stage for Jesus’ return. We will have an opportunity in the coming weeks to have a Church Family Reunion and to model that time after the early church. I want to be ready – and I want our Church to be ready until Jesus returns. Who’s with me?