Friday, October 12, 2012

Lessons in Community

When I moved to Lincoln, I knew what I wanted.  An education, of course, but more importantly I wanted to reboot my life, to find myself, to become comfortable with who I was and where I was headed in life. I accomplished a lot of that in my three years there.  I left with a new life and a hope that I would not crumble as I stepped out into the unknown territory of Atlanta, Georgia.
I am still not 100% certain why it is that I had to move to Atlanta though.  I don't know exactly what drew me to this place.  It was the silent tug of God that brought me here, and even though I fought it, I'm glad I'm here.  But I've been trying to figure out what it is I'm supposed to learn here.  What great growth spurts do I have to go through?  I know I'm here for an education, but I am in this specific setting for something bigger.
 I'm starting to think that maybe God is teaching me about community.  I laugh now, but I was scared to death when I moved here.  I was afraid I wouldn't find a support system, that I would be alone in a strange land with no one to care for me.  Instead, I have found more support and love than I even thought imaginable.  I am surrounded by people who love me for who I am.  I know I had community like that before, but I was too broken to realize it was there or trust that it would really help me in my time of need.  I had felt like an outsider within my own friend groups before, and now I feel like a full member.
Recently I have been hanging out with a group of Anglican monks and they are teaching me a lot about what it means to be in Christian community.  I see the bonds that have formed through living life together. There is a connectedness in that group.The morning and evening prayers I have experienced in their house have been some of the most intimate moments that I have had with God since I got here.  They have been two or three brothers and myself in the altar room of their house, but I have felt the touch of God in some of those moments, the connection that brings all life together and unifies us as siblings in Christ.  It has begun to help me see the communal identity of the body of Christ.
While the idea of the communal body of Christ might seem high and lofty, something idyllically beautiful, it's really just sharing life together.  It's opening up a little bit when you've had a bad day, it's sitting in silence and studying together, it's laughing and sighing as someone breaks yet another dish.  It's letting everybody be themselves, and letting each person's gifts  bless community as a whole.   That is communal life, and that is a beautiful life.
I can only hope and wait to learn more about community and life together as I grow over the next few years.

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