Why Community?

I had a conversation with a pastor recently, and he said you don’t get to pick whether you are in community. You are. That is how God made us. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That we were made to hang out with God and to hang out with each other. From the very beginning, God said, it is not good for us to be alone. So God made a partner for Adam. Jesus said where two or three are gathered, you can count on me being there, too. God wants us to be together. But we don’t always seem like we agree.
It seems it isn’t so hard to hang out with others when things are going well. But then something happens and we don’t want to bother anyone so we don’t tell others and we suffer in silence. Or maybe we join a group, but then we realize there is someone in the group that we don’t really like, so we stop going. But these are the times when we need others the most.
I don’t have any family in the area. And one of the things having family around does is it forces you to hang out with people you might not normally choose to be around. This is good for us. It is good to be reminded that we should stick it out with each other—because truth be told, none of us are all that easy to be around a lot of the time either.
I wonder if this is one of the reasons church people often refer to the church as their family. Some people come to church and are surprised that there are sinners at church. But you expect that in a family. So if you hang out and church and stick with it, you soon find out that people are people—and some are easier to get along with than others. And there are hard-to-love-people everywhere. And since Jesus loved to hang out with sinners, church is going to be full of them.
I became part of a small group many years ago. When I first started, there were some people who were a lot different from me. But we all had something in common—we wanted to be better moms. And it has been kind of amazing that after years of getting together, appreciation has grown. And women I thought I did not have much in common with have been there for me in hard times and have become a part of me that I could not imagine being without.
Jesus said that we are all part of his body. That one part can’t say to another I’m more important, or you don’t matter. And when you share a body, you are stuck with each other.
You can pretend as much as you want that this is not true, but it is. And when you start to get time behind you and a history of having to work things out, something beautiful starts to happen. You start to appreciate each other. And you start to see that you can count on others and they see that they can count on you. Even though we still mess up and disappoint each other sometimes.
There are lots of groups to join at SLC. And I’m not saying that you should join a group you hate. It should be life-giving for you, but don’t ever expect that it is going to be easy. Nothing worth doing is easy. But God made you to be in community. You already are—so why not dig a little deeper? Share who you are. Be vulnerable. Help someone out you wouldn’t normally choose to be best friends with. And I know that when you do, you will be amazed. Because imperfect sinners that we all are—we are in this together. And when we live into God’s dream for us, our stories start to flourish, because it isn’t good for us to be alone.

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