Friday, 1 October 2010

Community benefits

I read somewhere years ago that some life events are more stressful than others. Things like getting married, moving home and having a child were at the top of the list. I managed to avoid moving and getting married close together, but then events meant that I moved jobs, home and within a few months my wife had our first child! The best laid plans often fall down.

The real problem is not the event but the way in which we handle it, how we prepare, how much we get worked up worrying about it and what we do to ensure that the event goes as smoothly as possible. Are you someone who learns from others or someone who just knows that they can do it alone and does not need any guidance or pointers or help?

The church community is a place where we should be supported as we travel through these life events, a place where we can find wisdom, comfort, support and help. As the church described in Acts 2 seems to suggest, we share together. When we moved back in 2007 to be nearer the church we are serving in, the church folks were amazing, helping us clean our old home for its new owners and cleaning our new home ready for us, we would have been at it for months on our own, as it was it took just a day.

I often find people in church with more knowledge of something than me, perhaps you find it a problem to ask for help or advice or guidance? For me its one of the joys, to learn from others, the same is true of our walk with Christ. We are not meant to do it alone but in community so that we learn from each other and gain a better understanding of God through his people rather than develop a sanitised understanding that fits our comfort zone. After all the wisdom of God is not as the wisdom of humanity and we seek it together not apart - a hot coal taken from the fire soon cools and stops glowing, put it back in the fire and it burns brightly again.

All too often we can allow a disagreement or disappointment with some aspect of church, cause us to distance ourselves from that church community instead of applying scripture like Philippians 2 and
1 Cor 13 to it and ourselves. The writer of Hebrews tells their readers Don't stop meeting together, instead get together and encourage each other. So make being part of your Christian community a priority in your life, share your skills and understand and listen to the wisdom of others and accept their help.

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