Our preparation to move to North Carolina is progressing well — we sold our house here in Little Rock Tuesday to a buyer who requested a closing date that is the same day that we had requested on our new house.
We went to see it on a little vacation trip, and enjoyed a day-and-a-half in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.
I applied and interviewed for a part-time position at the university.
We got acquainted with our new hometowns (Dillsboro, Sylva and Cullowhee) a little bit.
We met people new to us, and made friends over dinner and in prayer afterward last Sunday evening with another family whom I feel sure will continue to grow closer and more treasured in our hearts.
Now the hard parts: Packing. Leaving. Realizing that it was probably our last family-of-four vacation for at least a long, long time. Helping our son move out of the house and into his apartment today. Saying goodbye to eight treasured friends in our LIFE Group at dinner last night.
As we dined together, I remembered a movie called Joshua where a farewell dinner was given by his friends for a person who has been called to an audience with the pope in Rome … a person who might be a lot more than just a visitor to their small town. Extraordinary things have happened among this group of friends and in their community as a result of the powerful love of this stranger. One of his friends, after the dinner, realizes aloud: “There were twelve of us.”
Last night I was made aware again of how our lives connect with so many others, changing them and being changed by them — but also of how profound those changes can be within a circle of close friends, no matter how different from each other we might be.
It made me wonder again what might happen if — like Christ — believers prayed fervently all night and then formed familial relationships with as few as twelve people … dedicated themselves to exploring His nature and personality together … lived it among themselves and others … prayed for one another from the heart … gave of self, sacrificially … loved deeply.
The movie I remembered starts thoughtfully and well, but I think it ends on a weak note. If I’d written its script, I would have had the character Joshua tell the pope:
“With all due respect, I didn’t come to see you or to satisfy your curiosity. I came to make a difference in the failing faith of twelve people I came to love … to help them experience what it means to believe even when confronted by things you can’t understand.”
My family will have that opportunity to help and be helped in that way when we move in three weeks.
We don’t know whom our twelve might be.
There might be more, or less, than twelve. Some might draw us closer with them to God through His Son than we could have imagined. Some might disappoint or wound us. They might choose us, initially. We might choose them.
But we will choose each other, and we will choose.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. ~ Luke 6:12-16
Who are your twelve?