The word community has been on my heart and mind as of late. It seems that everywhere I turn, I am reminded of its importance. To me, the essence of community is a culmination of being a part of a community, participating in a community and creating a community. Community affects different aspects of our lives, in numerous ways. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines community as, “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” When I speak about community, I am talking about something as small as a group of friends or as large as a church or school.
I have recently been meditating on what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I believe part of the lifestyle of loving is making sure you are setting time aside to invest in others. We all tend to get caught up in the daily monotony of life, that we begin to forget that there is more to life than our immediate surroundings or circumstances. Realizing the importance of becoming a part of a community is the first step in really becoming aware of the people around you. When you take the time to share a meal with a friend or take a walk together in the park, you gain two wonderful things: the reminder that you have something to offer and that you are not alone.
It can be unnerving to join an already established community, so much so that we procrastinate it. Especially if you are recently married and are struggling to find married friends or if you have recently become a parent and are finding it difficult to find other parents with children or even if you’re trying to make a character change that requires you to change your relationships as well. It is so important to look at the bigger picture: to look past the fear and inhibitions and focus on the rewards of making connections and establishing relationships.
I feel very challenged to embrace community whole heartedly and participate enthusiastically! Caleb and I have recently started grasping ahold of community in several ways: inviting others into our home for a meal or movie, meeting friends for coffee, volunteering at our church, setting aside time to make phone calls or write emails, bible studies, visiting our friends, and coordinating and participating in social events to spend time with groups of people. My posts on community are going to focus on what I believe are the most important reasons for community: nurturing of friendships, meeting new friends, and marriages and family.
Last week, I was reading Acts and found this verse (this is what I mean by the word community being everywhere I turn!)
“42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
I think this is a beautiful example of community. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, as it’s something that I long to continue learning about.