Last night our pastorate teaching was on community. It was a hard one for me to focus on because I was taking care of Ike during it and he was not in his snuggly, sit still and relax mood as he usually is when Rach takes care of him. However, one thing that Steve said caught my attention and has me ruminating a great deal.
He mentioned how community doesn’t really happen until some type of crisis occurs in a group. He looked at Acts 11 and how it wasn’t until God scattered the church in Jerusalem around that they began accomplishing his work to bring the Gentiles into the church as a group. You had Peter and others who went out and followed God’s lead and brought non-Jews into the church, but there was not a concerted effort until the church got scattered that they all started to live this kind of faith in front of the Gentiles.
That got me thinking more specifically about individuals and maybe Steve dug into this a bit, I honestly can’t remember because I was so in and out of the teaching last night. Crisis and tragedy are a catalyst for us as individuals to enter a community of others! What drives us to depend upon someone else? Often, we cling to our own ropes so hard that we won’t let go. We get to the end and somehow weave a bit more onto that end so that we can cling a little longer. A little crisis here, a little crisis there gets us back to the bottom, but we add a little bit more so that we don’t have to let go just yet. But then, something huge comes along (and the “huge-ness” of that event varies from person to person) and we finally quit trying to add onto our rope and we let go and fall.
Then we fall and fall and fall.
And fall some more, maybe….
But that bottom hits us hard and we are broken and battered and bruised. And we wallow there for a while...
But eventually, somehow, we finally open our eyes and discover a bunch of other people gathered around us, reaching out to us to join them. We think, “Where’d they come from??” Really, they have been there for a while waiting on us to open our eyes long enough to notice them. These other people are people who have done the same thing too. They fell down to the bottom of the pit and discovered someone else waiting on them. What you do then is in many ways up to you. You can close your eyes again and continue laying there or you can recognize that they want to help you get up, to hear what happened, to sit and listen for a while and when you are ready to share out of their own experience how they got there.
And something we discover as we listen to them, instead of ourselves, is that Someone else is in the midst of them. And we find out that He sent them to us to bring us to Himself.
Yes, at the bottom of that pit with all of those other messed up people, we can find Jesus waiting for us that He might heal us and use us to bring him to other hurting people in that pit. We get pulled into that community through our own crisis and find ourselves among others who have dealt with one crisis or another. And in the midst of all of that we find the Church who is the one who brings us to Jesus when we need Him the most.