I think sometimes my youth group gets tired of hearing about my friends Allen and Chris.
I know my wife does.
As a minister, I often talk about things like confession, forgiveness, joy, sorrow, grace, and church. The way I experience the reality of those words is in community with Allen and Chris and their families. So when I talk about those things, they are my examples.
But as I teach and talk to others about these things, I often see that this experience is pretty rare. So many people do not have people in their life with whom they can connect those words to real life. So many people settle for surface level relationships. They may have friends and people they spend time with, but the depth of the relationship is lacking. This not only blows my mind, but it hurts my heart.
We live in a world where we are more connected to more people than ever. We live in a world where you can throw a rock from any given location and hit a church. We live in a world where we can see our friends every move and passing thought at the touch of a button. Yet we suffer from a lack of real community.
And I think most people are oblivious to it. It’s not a character flaw or something they have done wrong. As Allen pointed out, most people just don’t know another way. We should not be satisfied with that. Because Jesus has given us the gift of community and it is meant to be experienced deeply and richly.
I think the deepest truth that I experience with Chris and Allen is grace.
It takes a lot of grace for me to put up with them.
And it takes even more grace for them to put up with me.
But the deepest and most simple definition of grace is “gift.” My friends and their families are a gift. They are a gift because of how they teach me those truths, but they are also a gift because I just happened upon them. I just “happened” to have a grad class with a guy I knew from Mexico mission trips in college. And he just “happened” to invite me to a local youth ministry meeting. Little did I know what huge gifts those two events were.
And we believe gifts are always meant to be shared.
This blog is born out of this grace gift of community, but we hope that it will extend that grace beyond the three of us. We want to invite you into our community, but we also hope to learn about how you experience it as well.
So, how do you experience community? Have you ever felt like there was more to it than what you are experiencing?
For more about our Sacred Margins Project, click here.