Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Community and Relationships

Community and Relationships
John 17:20-23

                One day a woman asked me about churches and
what it is that holds them together in order that they do what they do. My response was simply a community of faith gathered in relationship with each other. This same woman then asked but what about the Jesus story? My simple response is that in order to live with each other in community and relationship, we learn about Jesus and his teachings of loving others. This seemed a good answer until she asked me again. When you say relationship with each other what do you mean? I then explained—people in the church are there for you when you need support not only through the changes in family life but just to have people to speak to you about who you are nd how you are growing in understanding of what it means to be an individual person created by God. We all experience different transitions in life—births, deaths, marriages, losses, and even the day to day matters of who we are. We are wives, husbands, parents, children and we are there to listen, act and respond as needed to each other.
                This woman then asked, “How much does it cost to belong?” I answered—nothing at first—but then everything because you become a part of the community and share responsibilities and receive gifts abundant. This woman is still active in her church and has professed her faith in Jesus because she found relationships and community in Jesus’ church.
                This is what I think many people are needing and are searching for but are really afraid of what it means and what it might cost. Often people come to a church because they are alone and in need of friendship, that is, a person with whom they can connect and share life. A person who listens and by mutual respect shares the ups and downs of living life. This goes with a relationship one might find with a significant other, but is always welcomed. We are spiritual beings yet need to be hugged, to have a shoulder to cry on and most of all, a person with whom one might laugh!
                Couples today often live away from their parents and extended families because of work commitments. Parents of adults with families of their own are left in the home town to continue living. Yet the church is the only organization which welcomes all ages—to be community to be a church family together. But how do we make these connections? How do we welcome new people into our churches and open the circle we call family with which we are called to care for and love? We do it through love knowing that community matters because we were designed to live in relationship.
                Jesus prayed for his disciples and their future impact on the world. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one.”
                Jesus calls us to be one with each other and one with God. This is the foundation of how we are and become community. We care about each other. Now we need to tell each other how much- in Jesus’ name and through the love he showed us how to share.

                Are you willing to be in this kind of community where love is shared in Jesus’ name? This is what it means to be a part of the family of God! Come let us share and be one in Christ, together!

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