I know sometimes I sound like a broken record... but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my community. I love the Metro East - and my town of Edwardsville. I love my church - Trailhead Church (www.trailheadonline.org). I truly love my pastor, Steve (ummm... okay, he's also my husband!), and think you should listen to his message on community.
Many times we hear about how hard community is - and it can be difficult. But today I want to celebrate how wonderful it is! God gave me a great reminder this very day of how blessed I am by my community. Steve told a story of the giving of a car to our family. I vividly remember Steve sobbing with tears of joy and amazement that God had answered his prayers. Hondamus, as we fondly refer to our gift car, reminds me almost daily, how community is a blessing. Someone offered their possessions to God and God directed that someone to offer a specific possession to help a friend - us! And those friends have continued to check on us - and randomly at times bless us with their company, a gift, a meal, or prayers. We feel loved by them. And then, in turn, that rejuvenates me to share what I have with others.... joyfully, because I have received from someone who gave joyfully! And more importantly, we have all received grace and love from a giving God who sacrificed His Son to be my Substitute when He (Jesus) died on the cross - when He died the death that I should have died because of my sin. I gratefully receive life because of the sacrifice He made.
Yes, community can be rough at times, but the majority of times community is gloriously giving, joyously fun, and overwhelmingly a picture of the community of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. May we seek to walk deeper into community together. May we seek out those who are running from community and give them a safe place to explore what it looks like to be in a group of very different people who are seeking to follow after God. May we embrace forgiveness and be quick to forgive those who have failed us and ask for forgiveness when we fail.
A Wendell Berry quote that I love talks about knowing that you are in community when you help pull a neighbor's cow out of the ditch. This week some friends and I added to that. You know you are in community when they actually tell you that you have white wedding cake on your rear! Here's to you finding that community. If you don't have it, hunt for it til you do!