You know how in different seasons, there are specific words or lessons or visuals that seem to keep popping up in your life? Maybe that doesn’t occur for everyone but for at least for some of us stubborn folks, it’s like God has to drop clues all over the place for us to actually get the picture. The thing that keeps coming up to me right now is this idea and belief in community.
For those of you that read the blog (or at least when I used to write regularly) you know this is something I talk about A LOT. Probably annoyingly so at times. It’s the thing that I’m most passionate about. The thing that I believe is integral to the body of Christ and to any semblance or form of Christian life. You just can’t get around it. But for some reason, in this move and transition which was months ago at this point, I’ve pulled back a little from it. I don’t know if it’s new places, new people, new community building, or the grief and loss or change of old close community, but there’s something that is raw inside me around this concept.
I then start to think about student and campus ministry life and how hard it is to transition in from high school community to college community and then transition from college community to being out in the wide, wide world. I also think about how hard it is to transition from friend groups and single life to married life and professional life and all these in between times and the things that work out and don’t and how so many, random things affect how we view community, who we think are part of our “tribe,” and what we need from community. It’s not all about what we get out of it and it’s not all about what we put into it, but it seems to be this dance of times and places and seasons.
What are the things that hold us back from real community? Not pseudo surface-level stuff, but showing people the cracks and vulnerabilities. I think it’s scary. It’s unnerving. We want to be stronger and more patient and more perfect on the outside than the swirl of gunk on the inside. It gets messy. It takes a lot of time and real sharing. It sometimes makes us feel like we’re on display, left wide open or being dissected. But are these some of the same things that hold us back from fully sharing with God? Or fully sharing from the heart all aspects of our lives?
I know that not everyone is going to get along and gel 100% of the time. I’m not talking about being bff’s with everyone you meet. I’m not even talking about everyone “liking” each other even though I believe we’re all called to love each other and live in community together. I do challenge us to pause and think before we speak. I concede that sometimes our guard has to be let down to create those thin places where God can speak to us. I hope and pray that the world doesn’t see how we fight, bicker and belittle each other, but how we love, support, uphold, and care for one another.
For me, the song that’s been holding me through this season is Phillip Phillips’ “Home.” Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.