Thursday, September 16, 2010

Journeying together as a Christian community

(pic taken from here - COMMUNITY)

In so many ways, we belong to different communities throughout our lives - neighbourhood, school, work among others. But today let's turn our attention to the Christian community.

Ideally, the Christian community has at its foundation: the reverence and praise of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is shown in many different ways, from acts of service to the poor via the St Vincent de Paul and Blessed Frederic Ozanam societies to meditation or charismatic prayer together to singing in the church choir. There are so many different ways we can join up to serve, praise and worship Him.

Having said that, we each all have our own faith journeys: there are battles we need to fight alone and the darkness in our souls we need to confront by ourselves. There is an inner dimension to every human soul, but there is also an outer dimension which calls for belonging to a group to feed our need for social contact.

Therefore, we journey together as a Christian community via BEC groups or CGs (Cell/Care Groups). Yes, we can love and serve God together. Yet what do we make of it when everything is kept to a surface level and we know nothing beyond name and face? To journey together is to show another facet of God's love besides service, which is compassionate love and acceptance.

It begins with breaking out of our comfort zones to speak to others in our community and to get to know them better. You ask, isn't this being nosy? Well, if done as an act of outreach, i think that has no basis at all!
(On a personal note, I find it hard to talk to people sometimes, especially when I'm feeling introverted and vulnerable - but when I remember that there were kind souls who reached out, to me I'm inspired by His touch in my life and find it in me. We don't all need to be super extroverted, but a smile works wonders for a start.)
Inclusiveness is difficult - sometimes the blunt edge of rejection shows itself up in subtle ways, still, draw others in - as how Jesus drew Peter and the apostles in through His love and example.

The creation of a safe environment where listening to each other in a state of respect is also important. I know, you don't have to agree with what's being said, but give the others space to be who they are and what they say - it takes patience and a good dollop of charity, most of the time!

And above all, prayer and perseverance. No community is perfect, and at times, I struggle to accept my own weaknesses and those of others, particularly where I have been hurt, or where I have hurt others. It's easy to feel isolated and left out, but press on in a spirit of prayerful trust. The growth of a community is not dependent on everyone being the same, but each of us bringing to the table our different gifts and quirks.
In times when no one seems to care, and you're left all alone, or with only one person by your side, take heart in the words of Scripture:-

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Matt 18:20

Don't be daunted, for He is there - and with prayer, grace and effort on our parts, we can come to know and love our sisters and brothers more greatly and join them to pray with them and for them amidst the trials of daily life.

*Dedicated to Star of the Sea CG members especially and Lifeline SFX PJ- thank you all for showing me what it means to journey together as a Christian community, may we all continue to shine for Him!*

No comments:

Post a Comment