by Steve Jones

This content is part of a series.

Unity of Experience (3 of 5)
Series: The Crossing
Steve Jones
Joshua 3

Introduction: Joe Langdell was working as a junior accountant in Boston when he joined the Navy. It was 1940 and America edged closer every day to joining the war that raged in Europe. His college degree earned him a place in an officers' training program. In March 1941, newly commissioned as an ensign, he reported for his first assignment: The USS Arizona, stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. By the end of the year, the mighty Arizona lay shattered beneath the harbor, sunk by Japanese bombers in the Dec. 7 attack that finally propelled the United States into World War II. Langdell survived the attack at Pearl Harbor, along with 334 other Arizona crewmen, and devoted much of his later years to preserving the memory of a day that changed history. After returning home, he sought out other survivors and became active in the USS Arizona Reunion Association. He served as the group's president and reunion coordinator for many years, returning often to Pearl Harbor.

Langdell died last February (2015). He was 100, the oldest living survivor of the Arizona. With his passing, just eight crewmen from the mighty battleship remain.

What was there about Pearl Harbor that drives the survivors to seek each other out year after year for reunions even at considerable personal expense and inconvenience? What is there about high school, or college, that brings people back for reunions? I suggest it is something called the ''unity of experience.''

Review: we're in a sermon series entitled ''The Crossing.'' The Crossing refers to the Israelites' crossing of the Jordan River under the leadership of Joshua and my premise is that there are lessons on unity illustrated by this crossing that we can apply to the church. The lessons we've covered so far are the unity of direction (God's Word) and the unity of expectation.

But I want to back up for just a minute and reaffirm for all of us why unity is ...

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