Hurricanes Make Community Happen
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
When Hurricane Harvey barreled through Houston, I thought, “yes the rain will pound the city and the wind will kick up. . . but we’ve got this.” Since the Houston area was not in the immediate path of the storm and my history of riding out hurricanes proved that they didn’t hit as hard as predicted I didn’t get too worried.
My theory proved wrong. I live on the 5th floor of a mid-rise which is located within feet of the bayou. As the bayou waters rose we were surrounded by a lake of water and unable to leave our complex. While facing the threat of rising water, the residents in the complex “bonded.”
We met each other in the lobby and out the doors while looking at the street in front of our building which had become immersed in water. We combined food to share a meal together and we enjoyed a game night. We talked about the damage as we walked up the stairs since the elevators no longer worked. We welcomed people from the surrounding area who were evacuating their homes due to high waters.
Because we lost running water on the second day of the hurricane we also talked about how to conserve water and flush toilets with water from the pool. When I became hungry for “chips” because my pantry was slowly becoming empty, I bartered with another neighbor for an exchange. After 5 days into the “seclusion” we confronted the reality that the flood waters were not receding and most of us joined the plan to evacuate by boat.
Upon reaching the evacuation “drop off,” I bid my new friends good bye, and truly felt sad to not be together anymore. And yet I was glad to get off of the “island” and enjoy a hot shower. I think about the experience of sharing in weathering Harvey with my neighbors and the Biblical experience of community as described in Acts 2.
- During the hurricane we shared a common goal: to survive Harvey and have our basic needs met. The believers in Acts shared the common goal of connection to the Lord Jesus, the spread of His message, and the desire to have basic needs met.
- The threat of flooding and being out of control in our living environment drew us to each other emotionally. The threat of the misunderstanding and suspicion by society toward the new organism which would be later known as the Body of Christ propelled the believers in Acts 2 to find solace in being together.
- Generosity and sacrifice flourished during the hurricane days when we shared meals and felt comforted by each other’s presence. The early church in Acts 2 shared their resources and made sure each other was cared for.
I think about how God designed us for community because we are always experiencing a major threat whether we realize it or not – the threat of the world snuffing out our faith and our hearts being tempted to give our affection to someone or something other than the Lord Jesus and His mission. The believers in Acts 2 made a point to share meals, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, and meditating on the Word together. They saw amazing outcomes as the Holy Spirit moved in hearts and the number of believers grew daily.
You and I are wise to examine how and if we experience community with believers. I am asking you the same questions I reflect upon for my journey:
Are you aware of the vital importance of fellowshipping with believers?
Are you finding solace in the faith and prayers of Christ followers or are you looking to other coping mechanisms the world endorses?
How are you practicing generosity and sacrifice toward the Body of Christ so it grows and flourishes?
Sister, I pray you and I take a small step toward growing community in our lives this week. I am asking God to remind us of the urgency (without the threat of a natural disaster.) I thank all of you who expressed care, concern, and prayers for me and those living in my complex during Harvey. Your kindnesses lifted my heart and made me brave to face the unknowns of the storm!