Wednesday, March 16, 2011
One of the many things that made me fall in love with my college was that I learned a word there. And this word means a lot to me. This word may eventually become overused and cliche, and may even be making it’s way there, but it is there just the same. Community.
We used it to describe a sense of belonging we felt for our fellow students, or for our fellow Christians. Maybe we even used it to describe any sort of connection we felt to anyone who was remotely the same as us. The definition is, obviously, nothing more than what the word literally means. But, the idea of the word is such that, like words such as love and friendship, it tugs at the deep places of your heart. When the word is combined with your beliefs, let’s say religion or spirituality, it tugs at the deep places of your soul. It becomes a word that signifies, to me at least, the deepest relationship a human being can have with another human being. Community is a connection that is never-ending, and a camaraderie for which there are no words, only a sense of complete belonging to something important and incredibly beautiful.
The first church I attended here in New Zealand is now the one I will continue attending. It is a little ways to drive, so I had been trying to find a closer place to go. But this one church really drew me in with her genuine, loving people. Going to a church where you can’t slip out from the back row without being asked at least three times whether you have time to stay for tea is really a great thing. It’s impossible to be invisible in this place, and I love that. The first Sunday, early in January, the pastor found me immediately after, then found out where I was from, and talked to me about his 5 years at the seminary in Dallas. In between services, I was introduced to another au pair the pastor had searched out for me, then made to feel completely welcome by everyone else for the entire next service. They were disappointed when I couldn’t stay for tea (I was still getting used to driving on the other side of the road, and didn’t drive myself to church).
Tonight was my second week at a house church – or what they call a Life Group. The group rotates between about three houses, and I already feel at home with these people I get to see twice a week. The quote that inspired this blog, “Wherever I sat, there I might live”, resonates with me now as I type. As I sat with these young men and women tonight, I lived in a community where I was at home.
I have always thought, since my first visit to Mexico when I was very young, that worshipping with a group of people in another country is one of the most wonderful experiences a person could have. That will always be true for me. Whether in the same language or a completely different tongue, the community is the same. The connection is the same. It’s the sense of connection, and the piercing truth of Jesus’ love.
It’s the feeling of being home. The feeling of living. And it’s good.