“And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart, praising God and having grace with all the people. And the Lord added together day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47)
This past July, I had the opportunity to take a two-week trip to Washington, DC, New York City, and New Jersey. This wasn’t any ordinary vacation though, but a tour to “break bread from house to house.” Together with my friend Chris, a sophomore at Northeastern, we set out to follow the pattern of Paul and the early church in visiting believers in their homes to eat and have fellowship together.
“We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers.” (1 John 3:14a)
The first leg of our tour was to Washington, DC, where Chris and I met up with a motley crew of friends to explore the city and spend time together. One of our highlights was having lunch with several students from the area whom some of us had met at a Christian conference earlier in the summer. It was incredible to experience how instantly the group connected with each other—conversations about our summers and hobbies gushed forth as soon as we were seated at our table. By the time the waiters served us our delicious Spanish dishes, it was impossible to tell from our laughing and joking that we were all from different schools across the country and that many of us were meeting for the first time. Later on, we arranged to join a local Christian family whom we had never met before for a home-cooked dinner, and a similar thing happened—we bonded over sharing our testimonies of how we came to know the Lord. Through these experiences, I realized that the genuine love for other believers I found bursting out of me is so spontaneous because it issues from the life of God that we share as children of God1 and from the Person within us who is love itself2.
“Allow the little children to come to Me. Do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child shall by no means enter into it.” (Mark 10:14b-15)
After leaving DC, Chris and I joined our friend Jonathan, another Northeastern sophomore, in New York City to help out at a one-day Bible camp for elementary-age children and their parents. The camp consisted of singing, a Bible lesson, and several craft activities, all centered on the theme of building companionship—a fitting topic for us friends to enter into. As the hundred-plus children trickled through my tie-dye station over the course of the day, I was reminded of how Jesus exhorted his followers to “receive the kingdom of God like a little child.” Too often in my Christian life, I find myself caught up in learning biblical knowledge and fulfilling my Christian duties, forgetting that God just wants me to draw near to Him with the “simplicity and purity”3 that comes so easily to these little ones unburdened by life’s cares. These smiling and laughing children, their colorful creations in hand, brought me back to sharing simply in God’s joy.
“And as they were going along the road, they came upon some water, and the eunuch said, Look, water. What prevents me from being baptized? And Philip said, If you believe from all your heart, you will be saved. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:36-37)
Next, we visited Chris’s home in northern New Jersey, where we attended a gospel meeting about the three stages of the Christian life as portrayed through the children of Israel’s journey: redemption (leaving Egypt), transformation (wandering in the wilderness), and maturity in life (entering the good land). After the concluding word and prayer, one attendee stood up, tears in his eyes, and asked to be baptized to have a new beginning in life. It was glorious to behold the congregation gathered around the baptismal tub in fervent prayer for this newly-saved man and then bursting forth in joyful song when he emerged from the water, face shining and lips praising God. I was so thankful that we were able to witness this man’s birth into Christ.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor; for if they fall, the one will lift up his companion.… And while a man may prevail against the one, the two will withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
Our fourth stop was to visit our friend Andrew, a sophomore at Princeton who was conducting research on campus over the summer. Although I had known Andrew since we became friends at a summer Bible camp years ago, our interactions thus far had been limited by distance, making our day together all the more precious. As the three of us meandered around Princeton, reminiscing about funny memories, sharing spiritual experiences, pondering our dreams for the future, and simply enjoying each other’s presence, my heart was overflowing with immense gratitude to God for knitting us together as friends. I often find it hard to open up to others, so it was refreshing and freeing for me to be able to converse in such an atmosphere of mutual trust, knowing that Andrew and Chris understood me more than most through our shared Christian worldview and experience. When our time together eventually drew to a close, there was a sense within me that our friendship would flourish for years to come through the shared Person within us who “firmly attaches us”4 to each other.
“Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own houses well. For those who have ministered well obtain for themselves a good standing and much boldness in faith, which is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 3:12-13)
Our last stop was central New Jersey, where Chris and I visited Shepherd, a campus minister at Rutgers University who frequently gave messages at the summer Bible camp we attended growing up. I had only ever interacted with Shepherd in formal settings, so I wasn’t quite sure how to react when he picked us up in a beat-up minivan with his three rambunctious young sons in tow. But as I got used to the mini-whirlwind swirling endlessly around the boys, I couldn’t help but marvel at Shepherd’s normality and graciousness as we tagged along with him for the day. While we were running errands with him at Home Depot, he looked just like any ordinary dad, pushing his kids around in a shopping cart while trying to find the right bricks to finish his patio; later on, when we were at his home, he prudently sent us all outside to play so his wife could get some quiet time with a couple other guests she had invited over. Watching Shepherd remain calm amid the winds and waves of family life, I realized that this was not just him living in himself, but Christ being lived out through him in such a normal, ordinary way.
“But God has blended the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member that lacked, that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:24b-25)
Through our travels, I’ve gained a fresh appreciation for how all the believers collectively form the Body of Christ. As Paul describes in his epistles, the Body functions much like the human body, with individual Christians as members or body parts joined together through the “circulation” of fellowship to carry out the will of Christ the Head. The time we spent with the believers we met wasn’t merely for our personal enjoyment—every conversation, every shared experience allowed us to be “knit together” for the “growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”5 Furthermore, our interactions shed new light on what Paul meant when he states that “God has blended the body together”—as we broke bread and had fellowship with believers from so many different places and backgrounds, we as individual “grains of wheat”6 were being “blended” a little more together to form the “one bread” of communion that represents the Body of Christ.7 As I settle back into Harvard’s hustle and bustle this fall, I hope to still seize the opportunity to participate in the fulfillment of Jesus’s prayer that His believers “may be perfected into one”8 by simply spending time with fellow Christians and enjoying the Lord together.
Moriah Lim is a senior in Lowell House studying Physics and Educational Studies