25 November 2014

It Is What You Make It (Part 1)


Weddings are pretty much the only way I get to see some of my closest friends these days. Which was okay at first but now that everyone is married, they don't happen as often. Sometimes I go as long as 1.5 years without being with my friends in person. And that can be really disappointing. Nevertheless, I am always glad to see them if only for a short time. It's worth the 400 mile drive to come and see my friends if but a few hours. Because I miss them, because I love them, and because I treasure their presence.

These college friends of mine, which I’m speaking of, are the friends I was blessed to live with for four years in a deep knit community. We lived together, laughed together - oh did we laugh - and cried together - plenty of tears were shed those four years. But from that time in my life, what I miss the most is the presences of my friends and the deep community that we shared.

I love that when we get together we are able to pick up right where we left off but my heart longs for the day where we can be together with Jesus and not separate. Oh, how I look forward to that time.

If I have learned one valuable thing about community these past few years, it would be that it is what you make it. Living in a community takes work. We each have to play are part in making it great. That means building good relationships with the people around us and being intentional about spending time and life together. Having fun, praying, eating, working, living, shedding tears, and laughing until you cry together. Sharing each other burdens, encouraging one another, mourning together, as well as rejoicing with the people around us.

In the Bible, God painted a beautiful picture of what living in real authentic Christian community should look like. He does this in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31...

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

The part that sticks out to me most is where it says, "so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other". I LOVE that. Can you just imagine how beautiful it would be if we all looked out for one another! I can tell you from experience that living in community like that is amazing. It's worth the work that it takes to build a community because community means having someone to lift you up when you fall down. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11
Two are better than one,
 because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
 one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
 and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?

So dear sisters, I encourage you to go out and make your community right where you are. Maybe it means mending a relationship with a friend or family member. Maybe it means looking out for the people around you, perhaps your roommates? Or maybe, just maybe, it means reaching out to the Christians around you to ask them for their help, to admit that your struggling and you can't do it on your own. Whatever it is that you need to do to cultivate the community around you, I pray that you are able to follow through with it, and I pray also that you find solace in doing life with the people around you.  

3 comments:

  1. Oh, the LOVE <3 I definitely treasure our friendship Hilly, and I'm so glad to have you.

    Mandie and I were talking the other day and realized that we didn't get a "Gainey Girl" photo at Emily's wedding! :( Oh well

    Skpye date next week?


    http://KatrinaCrouch.blogspot.com

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  2. Yes! Weddings bring everyone back together :)

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  3. :) I'm glad to have you too! oh shoot!!! And YES!!! Let's skype!

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