January 22 – Community
Read: I Corinthians 12
I've had the privilege of experiencing many situations where there is true community. I remember catching a glimpse of what community looked like when I went to camp as a high school student. I felt like there, more than almost anywhere else, I could be myself, and that self was good enough and challenged to be even more.
I've also experienced a lack of community. One summer during college I went overseas to work with an organization that helps kids from various underprivileged communities get to know one another and build relationships. While this organization does great work, it didn't do much to foster community among the volunteers, and I came home with the conviction—I believe it was Spirit-led—that if I was ever going to do something like that again, I needed to have some built-in community along with me.
Community is so important to us as members of Christ's body, the Church. As it says in I Corinthians 12:27, we are each part of the body of Christ—each one of us is an important part. For me this is of particular importance when I think about how to go outside my comfort zone to live in a way that is perhaps unpopular with our culture, but is how we as Christians are called to live. If I'm the only one living that way, perhaps that's good for me—I'm living out my calling in obedience to God. But wouldn't it be even better if all of us lived that way? What if every Christian in the United States suddenly stopped buying things that were made in sweat shops or that were grown or harvested at the expense of a worker's health? This is just one area that we as Christians may feel led to live out our belief in God's desire for love with justice, but if we try to live this way alone, it can feel overwhelming.
Throughout history, prophets have arisen to point the way that God is calling. In our history as a denomination, Quakers have been a prophetic people, calling the Church and the world to faithfulness. Our denomination has done this because of people who were willing to listen to Christ together in community, and who had the courage to act, supporting one another each step of the way. Will our generation continue this tradition?
When have I experienced true community or lack of community?
In what ways do I sense God calling us to a fuller embodiment of Christ in the world?
How can I be part of a community with the discernment and courage to do this?