Last Sunday at our Concordia Orientation gathering, I had the privilege of getting to know a little better a group of people who have caught the vision of what God wants to do here at Concordia and are connecting in community here. When I meet people who are connecting at Concordia, it feels to me like I am encountering people I already know and with whom I feel comfortable. Remarkable!
I love that we talk about what it means to live in community as a family. It is a beautiful thing. A pastor friend wrote this on his blog and I thought I would share it here. Tell me what you think.
There is nothing like the feeling of belonging, the sense of being part of something greater than ourselves…invited, connected, and accepted in community. We cannot underestimate the joy of belonging, particularly in a world that stresses that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as the pinnacle of human satisfaction. While I would never deny that uniqueness and individuality are valuable contributions to our joy, they cannot and will not lead to joy itself. Belonging requires the participation of others. Without this fellowship the promise of hope and a joyful life quickly fade into the darkness of loneliness and despair.
“Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” Psalm 119:49-50
In our desire to make a life for ourselves we often sacrifice the blessings of belonging, particularly in the community Christ alone freely offers. As our life spins deeper into itself and we’re feeling most alone our soul cries out for what has been lost. We may even cry out “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” And yet still, here in the lonely darkness,God remains. Here He answers in words that remind us we have been invited into a relationship with Him, connected by His love and accepted through His sacrifice…
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:14-16
More than just a feeling of belonging, you have been brought into community with God through an invitation spoken from a cross, a connection made in a death and acceptance through a self-sacrifice you and I could never make for ourselves.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”- so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-14
The blessing of Abraham is the Spirit of faith that binds us together in community. Together we experience the overwhelming joy of belonging through His generous love and are led to live a truly generous life! While there is certainly belonging here in this electronic community, I encourage you to invite others to connect face to face where you live, remembering how a little acceptance can go a long way toward a community that values the joyful life!
Read Psalm 119:49-56, Isaiah 49:13-23, Galatians 3:1-14, Mark 6:30-46. Peace!
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