I bought some CD’s for Mike for Christmas that I thought would be good for worship. Some were definitely better than others and I was hugely and pleasantly surprised that Jars of Clay’s new album – “The Shelter” is chock full of great music. There hasn’t been a CD in a long time that I’ve listened to with such interest and have felt so moved by. One of the quotes on the album says, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.”
It is in the shelter of each other that the people live. Wow. I like those words.
It’s less than a week before students are back. That is a scary, scary thing with so much to be planned and prepared and geared up for. In thinking about this semester though, part of me just wants to claim those words. It is in the shelter of each other that the people live. What does it mean to be church? What does it mean to be in community with one another?
I think about students and the many walks of life they come from and all of the journeying they do during these young adult years and as much as it sounds all feel good and Oprah-y to talk in glowing terms about community all the time, I know it is hard. It’s hard to be in relationship with people that don’t look like you or think like you or vote like you or think the wrong things are funny or don’t want to laugh at your same jokes. But who wants a boring homogenous group? Well, deep down, a lot of people probably do. It’s a lot easier that way.
But how is that the kingdom of God? I hope I’m not surrounded by just a group of snarky white girls in heaven. Lord have mercy on all of us. When I think about campus ministry and the coming semester, I want to see us grow not just in size or number although that would be great. I’d like to see us grow in our love for one another. And not just for one another but for the people that don’t look, act, or sometimes even smell like us.
My prayer is that we get past the quick, hollow greetings and dig into the relationships. That in the midst of the busyness of college life that we can provide a shelter for one another. That’s one of those things I can’t do all by myself. That’s the cool thing about the Christian walk. You can’t do it all by yourself. At some point you have to enter into the chaos and the messyness that is relationship.
It is the shelter of each other that the people live.
Here Dan Haseltine introduces The Shelter…
Here’s them playing the song in the recording studio…
Here’s a version with the words…
I know that I need the shelter of each of you and I thank God for this community that walks with me each step of the way. May we each find and cling to our shelter.