“. . . continued together in close fellowship . . .”


“All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another.” (Acts 2:43-45) 

This past Monday I started to turn into our driveway when I noticed that something else was turning into our driveway.  I parked the van and sat next to this little box turtle for a few minutes.  I was surprised how close he let me get without becoming defensive and closing up inside his shell.  As a matter of fact, he didn’t close up until I picked him up and moved him out of the street and into the grass.  It’s really amazing when one of God’s creatures lets you get that close without engaging its defenses.Closeness is truly a gift from God.  We begin our lives being held close by our caretakers (hopefully).  That closeness is critical to our well-being and future development.  As we grow and encounter additional people in our lives we seek to share closeness with others.  However, if we’re somehow hurt in these new encounters with others we might develop defenses to protect our selves from others.  Like my little box turtle friend, we might learn to carry these defenses with us and use them at a moment’s notice to avoid getting close to others.  There are a broad range of defenses that we can develop – everything from physical isolation to even drinking alcohol when we’re around others so we don’t have to feel close.

The problem with these defenses is that they were developed at a particular time in our lives to help us get through a difficulty, but later on in our lives the same defenses became a hindrance instead of a help.  Long past the time when the defenses were helpful and necessary we continued to engage in them almost by habit, now convinced that the closeness we know we crave somewhere down deep inside can never be truly experienced.  We settle instead by filling the cravings with things like hobbies and other habits that over time also may help us stay away from what we really need – closeness with others and God.  (I’m not suggesting that hobbies are bad.  A healthy engagement with a hobby can even help draw us closer.  However, we do need to ask our selves whether the hobby or other activity is healthy or simply another means of filling the void we experience from a lack of closeness.)

When God’s Holy Spirit came upon the first Christians it gave them the gift of closeness.  The passage from Acts says, “All

the believers continued together in close fellowship . . .”  God’s healing love through Jesus allowed them to shed their defenses and draw closer to God and one another.  That same healing is available for us today.  God can help us recognize our defenses and find healing for them in many different ways.  It’s not too late for us to experience closeness with God and closeness with one another.  It’s not too late for us to shed that out-dated shell we’ve carried with us far too long.  I pray that God will help me seek closeness and help others find it as well.  How about you?Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia


Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

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~ by revgenelson on July 10, 2013.

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