“Be there or be square” is a catch phrase from a few decades ago. The idea, of course, was that if you didn’t make an appearance you were not socially adept or one of the smart crowd. In spite of the electronic media of today, some people still desire to see and be seen “live and in living color” whether at a flash mob or a rock concert. It is one thing to send condolences via Facebook and e-mail, but when plausible, much better to express that sentiment face-to-face. Most kids really do appreciate their relatives’ presence at their concerts, plays and sporting events regardless of their denials.
Once when our daughter and her son were in a very serious car crash and were rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, we were naturally upset, shocked and scared for them. Then amid all the chaos and noise we saw the welcome faces of one of our former elders and his wife. They prayed with us and helped calm us down at an extremely traumatic time. This same family made it a practice to be there for the brethren at joyous functions like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and graduations also. This behavior is by no means limited to elders, rather it is a command for all Christians and found in many scriptures.
We have many means to teach the gospel message today: TV, radio, telephone, pamphlets, social media, etc, etc. (Mt 28: 19) The 1st Century Christians had their own version of “snail mail” in the Apostle Paul’s letters to be read in the various congregations (1 Cor 10-10) (2 Pe 3: 16). The early disciples, however, usually traveled on foot to preach the gospel (Rom 10: 14-15). To fulfill the “one-another” passages, they needed to be there physically to: serve (Gal 5: 13), comfort (1 Thes 4: 18), live in harmony (Rom 12: 10), greet (Rom 16: 16), be kind (Eph 4: 23), bear with (Col 3: 13), and many more. All of them have love as the main theme. As God’s priests (1 Pe 2: 5, 9) ambassadors (2 Cor 5: 20) and saints, (Eph 6: 18) we still need to BE THERE up close and personal if at all possible.