Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘community’

Walking through the door of the sanctuary we were greeted warmly by people who know us, and I realized in my heart what I had known weeks before, when we decided that this would be our church …

we were no longer just visiting,
we were home.

Later, as we worshiped in singing, together, I felt like God was whispering in my ears, 

“Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling”

A new church, the reminder of community.
A messy, imperfect, it’s-gonna-take-effort and a sincere heart,
but it’s so worth it
community.

As we continue in this advent season, we might forget that there is new life, fresh starts found in this season. If advent is about expectation and waiting, Christmas is about a new start, fresh opportunities, a chance to have our sins erased, and a new future to move towards. 

The waiting for the Messiah results in his birth, full of love, hope, peace, joy and wonder. 

To be part of the love, hope, peace, joy and wonder we need to respond to the gifts of Christmas, as Christina Rossetti said,

“What can I give Him, poor as I am? … I would do my part; Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.”

To be in community with God is to have given Him our heart, our lives … everything before this moment, and everything that is to come. This is the receiving of the gift of Christmas.

Like hubby and I in our new church community, we could go there forever, and only take what we need. To be part of a community, a relationship, though, is to reciprocate … to “do our part … give our heart”. 

“O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus ChristOh what a savior
Isn’t He wonderful?
Sing hallelujah, …”


Read Full Post »

548185

I love the debates I have with my son, for we both share our opinions with conviction and passion, yet, because we are not of the same gender, we are able to walk away from such discussions with no bruises.

That said, we had such a debate recently, and after thoughtful consideration, he was wrong.

I was watching the movie, Young Victoria, and specifically her coronation. It was this scene which birthed a debate.

My son said, “she looks scared to death”

To which I replied, “she probably was, as this event diminished her human rights and replaced them with duty to her country, and all that went with that.”

Then he said, “it was a choice. All of life is about choice. Choice is what God gave us all.”

And I pondered (but kept quiet because I really wanted to watch the movie) his words for days after.

I have come to the conclusion that he is right, and wrong. And it is because of my mother-child relationship to and with him that I have found his words to be such.

For I am the woman who loved him from before he was born. I am that one who believes in him, who pushes him, who would die for him. I am bound to him through the experience and responsibility of motherhood. I am duty-bound, for though our relationship was born from love, I must often choose to put my care of him, above myself. That is my duty.

Though individual choice is a common-heard mantra, duty is bound to choice … every choice.

Though it may not be popular, our opinions and our expressions through our appearance are not our own in the workplace. While we are ‘on the clock’ we do not represent ourselves alone, we also represent the organization or business that is paying us. During work hours we are duty-bound to represent our employer. We can wear what we like, but we always need to keep our duty to our position in mind.

We have choice to accept the love of God. Though he pursues us for all of our lives, he does not force his love on us. Once we do receive what God offers to all, we are then duty-bound to him, and to his teachings. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus said, “come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” There are two steps to this commitment, following (accepting) him and then doing the task (duty) that goes with the commitment.

In keeping our duty to our workplace, our family, our God and community we become leaders … maybe not leaders by position or rank, but leaders in the hearts of the men and women around us.

Duty is part of choice,

“Leadership is not a rank.
Leadership is not a position.
Leadership is a decision.
Leadership is a choice.
It has nothing to do with your position in the organization.

If you decide to look after the person to the left of you, and to look after the person to the right of you, you have become a leader.”
Simon Sinek

It is not just our employers, our government and our family members who are duty-bound to work for the good of all. We are all bound, by duty, to diminish so that others might thrive alongside of us.

To do this may lessen stress and anxiety in our family members and co-workers, by giving them a safe and caring community.

To do this may decrease our focus on differences (race, religion, etc.) and bring people together to share in common human experiences.

To do this may result in senior citizens and those with special needs feeling part of the community that they live in, rather than feeling like (or being treated as) burdens on society.

To do this may result in less homelessness, abuse and substance abuse.

I realize, even reading my own words, that this sounds so pie-in-the-sky, Mr. Rodgers esque. And to do that, to look after those around us, is our duty as members of a workplace, a family, a community.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
Winston Churchill

Read Full Post »

This week, at different times and in separate contexts, three words keep surfacing:

community

different people sharing life together

exclusivity

omitting or excluding 

evangelism

reaching out to others with the good news of Jesus

 

On first glance, they might not go together, but, after a conversation on this dark and monsoon-rainy night, I began to see a thread connecting them all.

We humans seek community with others. We are constantly seeking open gates into cozy and accepting spaces full of others. We need each other. We long, with everything in us, to know that we are not alone. 

But, fear enters the picture. We build walls around our communities. We lock the gates, and post a guard. Our desire to not be alone, can cause us to protect the community we have found or achieved, resulting in exclusivity.

Any community can easily become exclusive, and these exclusive communities can be found on our streets, in our schools, our workplaces and our churches. Turning our cherished communities into gangs or cliques.

704264

Community is the desired, the goal.

Exclusivity is the result of fear.

But, there is a third word,

evangelism.

Evangelism is the reaching out to others with the good news of Jesus.

In a sense, it is the heart and foundation of community, being offered to us all. It is the anecdote for the fear that leads us to exclusivity, and exclusivity is the reason Christ came. He came not just for the Jew, but the Gentile as well … a new, inclusive community.

Evangelism is the reason for human community. We strive to share the good news of Jesus, because he is the one that can not only eliminate fear, but he fills the void with the communion (community) of saints.

Protect our community from exclusivity … share the good news.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Recently, as hubby was cleaning up after dinner, I was griping to him about a frustration or two in my day. I think I may have done this too much lately.

He then said, “don’t take this personally (ya right … saying that only encourages me to take it personally), but I think we are both in a state of discontent right now. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it might be good to look for the reason for our discontent.” For whatever reason, I did not reply, I only pondered his words. And then pondered them some more.

As much as I pondered, and as much as I tried to look at the reasons for discontent in our life (lives), there was only one consistent line of thinking that came to mind, “who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

The quote comes out of the story of Esther, a beautiful Jewish woman, chosen by the king of Persia to be his queen. It was through this position that she was able to secure the safety of the Jews throughout this Persian kingdom. It was through her understanding, that perhaps God had placed her in the position she was in for this very purpose, that encouraged her to do what was right.

But, why the discontent? Why did that verse keep recycling through my thoughts, for hours after? It is not as though, like Esther, our decisions could affect the physical lives of ourselves and those around us. It is not as though our decisions affect anyone, right?

Wrong!

That verse that has been recycling through my thoughts has reminded me of a very important reality … we do not live independently, but in community with others. We may like to think (perhaps out of a false sense of humility, or a very real sense of arrogance) that others lives are not affected by our choices, but we are not islands. We live in community, we live with others, we depend on others. In turn, others depend on us.

Maybe that is what Esther heard and understood, as her uncle Mordechai reminded her of her current circumstances (not ones she had sought or chose). He also reminded her that there was perhaps a purpose in her position, and therefore, a purpose-giver (without directly saying so).

That giver of purpose is the the Creator of our souls (our very beings), the Creator of all that is around us, the same God of Esther.

It is He who directs our paths, and it is He who creates us with and for purpose. Even our discontent is not without purpose (maybe even our griping). But, we must not sit in our discontent, we must seek it’s purpose, it’s role in the circumstances we are currently living.

Maybe hubby was right (oh boy … I can hear him snickering as he is printing and framing those words … I will never be able to live with him now), maybe we need to look for the reason or purpose for our discontent.

Maybe, we (each of us) have come to this position, this place, for such a time as this.

Read Full Post »

063a8958e2aaa154ae6c527864e655bf

It is delightful to be able to celebrate with someone for whom celebration is deserved or due.

To share in the pouring out of blessing into the life of another is contagious and the warmth of the blessed person’s joy radiates to all near them.

I remember years ago, our neighbors daughter and her hubby winning a very large amount of lottery money. When she came over to tell us, I was out hanging Christmas lights (or was us taking them down?), and her face was brighter than anything I was hanging. I also remember feeling a visit from the green-eyed monster.

That green-eyed monster raises it’s head in the ugliest ways, at the most beautiful, celebratory times.

As the blessings pour into the lives and hands of those around us, they can sometimes be reminders of the blessings we have missed, lost, or are out of our reach. When this happens it can feel as though we need to plaster onto our face a plastic smile, when you may just want to shout out:

“it’s my turn …”
“I have needs too …”
“I want to celebrate with you, but … my heart is breaking.”

For the woman desiring to meet and marry her prince, news of another’s engagement …
For the couple secretly mourning a miscarriage, the announcement of the pregnancy of another …
For the woman whose husband is in palliative care, news of another in remission …
For the student denied acceptance into their desired university, news of a peer getting into theirs …

can all have mixed effects on the hearts of those who are not living in the land of milk and honey.

But people, Romans 12:15 reminds us to :

“Rejoice with those who are rejoicing.
Cry with those who are crying”

It is good to rejoice for those who are ready to celebrate! It is also good to cry with those who are crying … but, to cry with those who are crying means that we need to share our sorrows with others, we need to share our sorrows, as we share our rejoicing.

God wants us to have community, to share our lives with others.

I love to share good news … but, oh, how I hate to bleed emotionally, in public.

Yet, when I have been strong enough to show my weakness to others, I am always amazed at how faithful God is to bless that sharing, and how blessed I feel by the supportive shoulders others provide. Actually, the freedom to share my sorrow almost makes me want to … celebrate!

God’s people, loving each other through rejoicing or tears, is the fulfillment of our purpose in living in community with each other, and “he turns our wailing into dancing” (Psalm 30:11).

Read Full Post »

Sixth Seal Ministries

Dee ❤ Sealed In Christ

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

FisherofMen

Cast The Net To Rescue Those In Need

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith

Frijdom

encouraging space to think deeply

His Wings Shadow

Trust ~ Delight ~ Commit ~ Rest

Perfect Chaos

The Blog of Philosopher Steven Colborne

Life- All over the map

A family journey through childhood cancer and around the world

A L!fe Lived

seeking the full life that only Jesus offers

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

The Mustard Seed Kingdom

A Blog of the Evangelical Anabaptist Partners

Brittany Wheaton

reflections on living intentionality and soulfully in the midst of the grind