I do not like to procrastinate. Back in college I would finish an assignment with time to spare and start the next project a week early. And then I would sit back and smugly watch everyone else scramble to finish their own work on time.
So, here I am – late on a Sunday night, I am starting a post to be finished tonight. Now, I do not have to do this. I will not get a failing grade if I decide to skip a week and just head to bed. But I’ve committed to write something each week.
I do actually have something else written; ready to be posted tonight – some delightful musings on teaching a 2-year-old to pray. But God works through our life experience and through other people, and I felt that I should write about something else tonight. So, let me take a sip of my caffeinated beverage, and here we go.
Community. This word; this way of life seems to be losing steam. Society is more individualized; social media replaces social gatherings. But, oh – how I love the feeling when I walk into my church on Sunday morning. I love that sense of family, a feeling that I’ve come “home” when I walk in that door. People laugh together, cry together, hug. (Sometimes gossip.) In worship, I love that I can be with a community of believers praising together – how much more joyous to the ears of God when we lift up our words of praise in unison!
When my family pulls into the parking lot, or even when we drive by the big white building, my kids are SO excited to be there. My son asks when he gets to go to Sunday school again; my daughter gives hugs to people of all ages, and dances in the aisle with a friend during worship. It is often a challenge to actually leave the building because there is always someone to talk to. I am so thankful for this family of believers we are a part of!
Community. On Saturday morning we gathered at church – over 100 people came together for a day of service. I did not know everyone in the room, but I felt a one-ness; a sense of belonging, of purpose. The energy and passion of our community meant that God’s work could be done at a big level – so much more so than if the work had been done with individual effort.
Community. This morning was rally Sunday – the fall kick-off for a new year of Sunday school and adult education. I was so encouraged to see a huge crowd gathered to support our youth and those leading our education programs. And as I listened to Pastor’s message this morning (already beginning to realize that I’d be starting from scratch tonight on this post), he talked about community and how important it is to worship together. For as Matthew 18:20 states: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
The real kicker – and the moment I knew I had to spend some time tonight reflecting and being thankful for spiritual Community – happened this evening. This is my 22nd weekly post – which means it has been approximately 22 weeks since I finished my faith leaders class mentioned in MY LENTEN SACRIFICE. Tonight, a group of individuals that have finished this program met to continue the journey on a deeper level. We read aloud together from the preface of a book titled *Spiritual Direction. We get to my paragraph, and I read that “we require a faithful community to hold us accountable” and “we need a church or faith community that provides opportunities for worshiping and sharing…confessing faults, offering forgiveness, and celebrating life.”
All right, God. I get it. Community is important. Enough prodding – I’ll focus on that!!
Community. So very powerful for the work of our God!! If you don’t have this kind of spiritual community, I encourage you to find it. If you are like me, and meeting people does not come easy, it might take a little time. Maybe even years. But keep searching. God has called us to find this spiritual community. And it is such a blessing!
*Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith by Henri Nouwen with Michael J. Christensen and Rebecca J. Laird; HarperOne, 2006.