Senator Hillary Clinton was correct when she wrote, “It takes a village”, when referring to the raising of children. That said, I differ with Ms. Clinton on her definition of “village.” Village is not government, agencies, schools, or organizations. It is not the global village as some have come to term it. Truth be told, the phrase, “It takes a village,” is actually borrowed from an African proverb that has existed in various forms. In African culture, the extended family raised the child, not just the parents. It was a communal effort of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces and nephews.
That said, my extended family lives in New Mexico, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Florida, etc. Where’s my village? How am I supposed to live this out? Who are my companions who will lift me up?
At times, I think it’s easier as Americans to go it alone than to wrestle with these questions. We attempt to be fiercely independent and self-sufficient, though this is an illusion if you look at it realistically. No one is truly alone, but rather we all rely on each other in various ways. Still the question remains, where’s my village?
I believe Acts 2:42-45 sheds some light on this. Summarizing the birth of the early Church it reads:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
Without apology, I need my local church – “the fellowship” as Acts says. Not because I’m some desperate soul without a friend, but because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ; they are my extended family. The Body of Christ is my village that I’ve turned to time and again for help and support. This is not just a biblical principle, but a reality I’ve come to. The truth is, you can’t do it alone.