Luke 2:41-45 (CEV)
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. 42 And when Jesus was twelve years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. 43 After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus had stayed on in the city. 44 They thought he was traveling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. 45 When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there.
Life In Community
A couple weeks ago I watched the Mudders for Mothers do the Tough Mudder. Some of the events can be completed on your own, provided you’ve worked hard and are in good shape. But some of the events are impossible to do on your own, like this one:
The wall is about four bodies tall, at about a 45o angle. You can’t scale it on your own. Your only chance of getting to the top is to work together in a team. And the bigger the team, the more everyone’s committed to working together, the simpler and easier the task is going to be.
Life is kind of like a Tough Mudder. There are bits of it that you can get away with trying to do on your own, if you’ve trained really hard, and are in really good shape. But most of it was never designed to be done by yourself.
Mary and Joseph are in a community-based culture: the journey to Jerusalem is done in community, the Passover festival is celebrated in community, the journey home is done in community, and life from day to day, month to month, is lived in community.
We might jump to assuming that Mary and Joseph were irresponsible parents because they walked a whole day before they realized their 12-year-old wasn’t there with them. But I think a better observation for today might be that Mary and Joseph, in spite of any scandal that once surrounded their first-born child, have chosen to live life in community, because they know that life is too hard to do on their own.
Community is a really counter-cultural choice for us these days. It’s frequently discouraged, frequently undermined, frequently seen as too risky. But when I’m stuck in Toronto at a specialist appointment with one child and another child needs picked up from school, it makes a world of difference to have someone to call. When we ended up at the hospital because someone had a broken arm, it was incredible to have people offer to show up and sit with me while I waited. When I just need to vent about something, it’s amazing the difference that truly being listened to can have on how I feel about my circumstances.
Nathan has this idea he comes back to periodically about us each having “Three Meals A Week” (eat one meal with someone from church, one meal with someone outside of our community and a third meal with someone from either category). It’s not simple to do when we’re busy people living busy lives. I’ll be the first to admit that some weeks we manage it at our house, and some weeks we don’t. But when we regularly manage to connect with others – whether it be breakfast, a coffee, dinner, dessert – whether it’s pizza or casserole or waffles or tea – I notice that the burden of life seems lighter, the laughter flows easier, and I remember that part of the point of being a Jesus-follower is getting to know on a daily basis that I’m not alone.Journal Questions:
- What helps you reach for community?
- What makes you scared or reluctant to reach for community?
- In what areas can you see you need more community?
- In what areas can you see that someone around you needs more community?
- What ways do you best engage in community? (Maybe meals, serving together, exercising together, working together?)
- How can you take one step towards building community today?