We Christadelphians have a unique characteristic: we love to discover our connections. Think of the last time you were at a Bible school. You met Sis. ‘Smith.’ ‘Ah, you say, ‘You’re one of the Smiths from Vermont.’ ‘Yes,’ she says, ‘I’m also related to the Smiths from Detroit.’ ‘Oh, I think you must know my cousin, Jack Brown, from Florida,’ you exclaim. Sis. Smith is married, it turns out, to your cousin Jack’s grandson’s nephew. And so it goes.
We smile and attempt to follow the branches of the family tree as our sister relates them to us. We are fascinated that, amazingly, we are connected to our new acquaintance. ‘Small world,’ we remark. But this is typical in Christadelphia, isn’t it? In so many ways we are connected.
Why do we like to establish our connections? I think this reinforces our sense of oneness in Christ. We remember how Jesus prayed for us in John 17, looking forward through history, asking his Father to make us one with him and his Father.
True story. A few years ago at a Bible school, I met a brother in Christ who attended an ecclesia I often visited as a child. We remembered the beloved and elderly ‘Uncle Roy, the candy boy’, who between Sunday school and memorial service lovingly dispensed candies to eager little children with outstretched hands.
Connections! Our brother and I remembered this dear man fondly. We reminisced about how Uncle Roy took such pleasure in giving candy to the kids in the ecclesia. Uncle Roy connected easily to the sweet-toothed youngsters, and here I was reconnecting with a brother of many, many years ago.
I think of the recorded genealogies of our Lord Jesus Christ. He certainly was connected to a huge number of characters through history. Think of these individuals in Jesus’ family tree, some of whom we may not want to admit being related to. Why are these individuals named in the gospels? It goes without saying that it is necessary for us to know Jesus’ pedigree and his humanity. We need to understand our connectedness to our Master too. His lineage includes a mixed assortment of saints and sinners, kings and commoners. To be considered a brother or sister in Christ is an honor, but with strings attached. We have to bear each other’s burdens.
There are many ways we demonstrate our connectedness to our Lord and Master. So many of the Brotherhood have said to me that they have been praying for me in my health crisis. What a wonderful connection! The connection we have with our heavenly Father through the privilege of prayer is an extraordinary responsibility. It behooves us to cherish our connections in Christ, and thus follow the admonition to love one another.
We are all fish caught in the same gospel net, but we have different characteristics. Let’s remember that Scripture teaches us to consider one another as family. How encouraging it is to know, as we do the Bible readings, that we are receiving the same encouragement through the Word of God, on a daily basis, all over the world. We are indeed wonderfully connected in this family in Christ to which we belong. Let’s remember how precious is this special relationship we share, and cherish each others’ connection in Christ.