How Deep, How Vast: Our Need for Community

Post Grad Duck #12

A lot has happened in the past week and a half. I like it. For the first time since moving to Pennsylvania, I’ve felt like my life is all over the place and I’m losing track of time and the things I have to do. Granted, this isn’t necessarily something that I should celebrate (feeling frazzled), but this sense of unorganization indicates that I’m starting to settle into this new place. State College is becoming home. It’s weird, but I’m happy.

Part of this happiness stems from the fact that I’ve made friends; we’ve even nicknamed our band of misfits “The Herd.” We’re a group of humans that you probably wouldn’t group together if you were to see us on the street. We’re a motley crew that doesn’t belong together, except for the fact that we do.

The Herd needs each other because we’re people–broken, but together reflecting a greater image of the Father. Although we’ve only known each other for a short time (some longer than others), that doesn’t matter. The Lord is not defined, nor confined by time. I’m excited! Good things are happening! This doesn’t just apply to my current situation, but to the ones that I’ve had in the past and the ones that I will have in the future. Community shouldn’t be selective in the sense that it is vital to our existence.

I really began to recognize this in college, but I’ve noticed even more so how important it is to be in community with other people. I’ve learned how necessary it is to share your life with others. I’ve accepted the fact that this life and everything that comes with it isn’t meant to be lived alone.
So, in light of all these lessons, I’ve been asking myself some questions:
What is is that brings people together?
What is it that keeps them together?
What is it that stirs that ache in us that can only be satisfied by person to person contact?Is it vulnerability?
Is it mutual interest?
Is it kindness?
Is it laughter/joy?
I believe the answer is yes; but that yes is also synonymous with the love and grace of Jesus. I believe that it is a love so deep and grace so wide that allows us to share stories that make us laugh and make us cry, share hobbies that we enjoy, and encourage one another through words and through silence. The grace of Christ invites us to join in His suffering (2 Timothy 1:8-10), but also in His celebration (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The grace of Christ invites us to do our best as we work through the tasks before us (1 Corinthians 10:21), but also allows us to rest in what has already been done (Exodus 14:14; John 16:33). The love of Christ sits by us in our despair (Jeremiah 31:25), and sings over us in our joy (Zephaniah 3:17).

Recognizing the strength of such a love and the magnitude of such grace, offers us the freedom to share our lives with other people. It allows them the opportunity to do the same and gives everyone a foundation to stand on. How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure. But on this side of Heaven, that love and grace doesn’t always feel as tangible because we’re not physically walking beside, talking to, or being held by Jesus. When life gets really, really hard I can’t run into the Lord’s arms and ask him to hold me. Even still, when life goes really, really well, I can’t invite Jesus over for dinner to celebrate with me.  That’s why we need people, we need Christ’s body (the church, the community) to be His hands and feet for us, while we serve and do the same for them. It’s a give and take of necessity.
None of this is easy. Friendships, relationships, love…it all requires sacrifice and a level of humility we’re often not willing to surrender. But what I’ve found is that even though it can be uncomfortable, it’s always worth the risk.

[Father, give me the strength and courage to take risks in love. Grant me the grace to be a friend and accept friendship. Thanks for being so kind to your children.]
❤ Amen

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