With whom are you living your life? You’ll know the real answer to that when life takes a twist.
A tornado twisted up a town in Mississippi last month. The residents learned that they are strong together. They are leaning on each other, determined to rebuild their homes, churches, businesses, and lives. I was there and spoke with them. Over and over, I was amazed at their strength and concern for their neighbors even as they stood in the debris of their own properties.
In times of crisis, belonging to a caring community is vital. God wired humans to draw strength and courage from one another. In Mississippi, I observed the strongest community and the most courage among those who share faith in Christ Jesus. Together in Christ, they overcome the divisions of class and race, share the purpose of glorifying God, and live in hope of the same eternal destiny – even as they clean up and prepare to rebuild.
The early Christians knew the value of strong community. In his letter to the Romans, Paul mentions the phrase “one another” at least ten times as he encouraged the community of faith to love and support each other. He greets 35 people by name, reminding them how they all contributed to the building of a resilient community. Less than ten years later, Emperor Nero began his persecution of the Christians. They were ready, and the church survived.
It is a mature faith that understands we live in a fallen world, infected by evil, at least for now. God has done something about it by preparing a place for you free from suffering and showing you the way to arrive there. But while you are still here, find ways to live life with friends in loving community, ready to support one another when needed. “They will know you are my disciples,” Jesus said, “because of your love for one another” (Jn. 13:34). Dietrich Bonhoeffer may have had that idea in mind when he wrote, “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” Don’t wait until your life gets twisted to create a loving community that is more than a dream.
The lives of people in Mississippi and ancient Rome offer the same message. Your life is more resilient when you share it with people of like mind, especially the community of faith. Find your place in a church that embraces the truth, peace, and hope found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).