BelongingNew Every Morning | September 22, 2020
The truth is I don’t know much about Christian community—what makes one tick, how to break into one, how to commit to one, or why Christ considered belonging to one so essential. And I can’t figure out whom to blame: the churches I’ve walked in and out of for the past decade or me, myself, and I? Methinks it’s a complex question I have raised, but I am willing to point all fingers at all the various churches whose doors I’ve graced in the past five to ten years. But that wouldn’t be completely fair—mostly true but not 100-percent fair. So let me confess a few things about myself. I have always been somewhat of a solitary figure, a moody person who gets nervous when I start to feel my personal space threatened by too many people or activities or hard-and-fast requirements like job responsibilities, paying my taxes on time, and sending Christmas cards.
—Enuma Okoro, Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community (Fresh Air Books, 2010)
When have you struggled to belong to a community? Join the conversation.
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.
—1 Corinthians 12:26-27 (CEB)
Prayer for the Week
Forgive me when I am reluctant to engage as you call me to do. Surround me with a faith community that encourages and challenges me to participate in God’s unfolding drama.
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I don’t know that it was so much a struggle, as I simply didn’t desire to belong to a community. I guess, growing up, I viewed church related events as more social, than spiritual. And as I became an adult – I never found social events energizing, or worth my time. In other words, I was an introvert. Also – I wasn’t seeking God or considering spiritual matters. I was just living, going to church cuz I always had. But then a change began – and it has culminated in the past several years. I still could care less about social events, where people just “hang”. But – if there is going to be conversation with serious reflection, and a safe space to be authentic – I am all in.
Was able to step away from the intensity of school and its schedule yesterday afternoon to play tennis. Perfect, sun-drenched weather and an hour and a half to have physical activity, a bit of conversation and something other than the screen.
I have already stated that it was difficult for me to feel comfortable in the last church I attended. I went every day for several years and participated in every outreach program, contributed to every request for itens for whatever cause, was a member of numerous committees and attended several small group Bible studies. I never felt that the church was a place of true community for any of the members. We were a group of individuals going through the requied “church motions.” I wanted a true community of faith not a community of people fulfilling their church duties.
Prayers for Jill, may she continue to find times of respite from the screen.
Prayers for Robert, may his church and group study continue to be available through Zoom.
The kittens, all 3, brought me to tears yesterday morning. I was exhausted and went to bed early last night. Today is a new day and the Lord is with me. I take heart and relish His strength.
Prayers, thank you and stay well dear UR.
As a child, I loved church and Sunday School. As I grew older and took part in youth choir and youth group, I wasn’t so crazy about community. I felt awkward and gauche. I also had to deal with jealousy in choir from other members, because I got a lot of solos and praise from adults. I also experienced this in high school chorus and would try to turn down solo opportunities. I enjoyed being with my friends and loved worship, but other activities could be difficult. When the youth leaders threw out questions, I wouldn’t answer because when I did, the other kids thought I was a know-it-all. It’s hard being the “smart kid”. I learned to be invisible. By the time I hit my early 20s I learned to compensate. Like the author of this study, I learned how to work a room. I learned to be funny. Thanks to a wonderful professor and friend who encouraged me not to hide myself and to use my musical gifts, I learned to be real. Until the pandemic, I was a pianist and choir director at one church and sang in the choir and was a youth volunteer at the church where we are members. Those months staying home reverted me to my true self: the person who likes to stay home and be with my husband and see a few close friends. I don’t really want to go back to the way things were, church-wise. But I miss singing in choir and making music with others. I think I need to read this book
David is feeling better and his spirits are pretty good. The medication is definitely helping. He still tires easily and has aches and pains he didn’t have pre-COVID. He still needs the diuretic to help with swelling, He occasionally gets a little winded during activity. We are believing God for full recovery. Trying to trust God, even though recovery is slow. Mr. Pete has received full healing and is home with the Lord. This is not the outcome we hoped for, but he is at peace, knowing that he was so loved by his family. They appreciate your prayers and that we continue to pray for them in these days as they face life without their beloved Daddy. I had my eye appointment yesterday. I have a very thick cataract on my left eye and one that is just getting started on my right eye. Surgery is scheduled for early December. I ‘m a little disappointed at the delay, but there is a backlog of surgeries postponed due to pandemic. I’m thankful those folks will finally get to have their surgery.
Jill, I’m like you: I enjoy deep conversation and a change to be real. I do enjoy getting together with just a few friends. We’ve had such lovely weather the past few days her in Georgia. The humidity has gone and we’ve had highs in the 70s. I love fall. My favorite time of year. I pray all of our UR family is well and can enjoy the beauties of autumn. Robert, I would love to experience this time of year in New England. Thanks to all for your insight and encouragement. Blessings to all!
Getting up and ready for ZOOM Bible study and finding no New Every Morning before breakfast. I’m rather late posting here now. Today’s Bible study dealt with the question. ” are babies born with sin?” I don’t think so. We are born human and humans are quite able to both sin and do good. I define sin as not following what God tells, wants us to do.
Can’t remember, except for a brief time while in college, not being glad to go to church. I do think it took some time for church, worship, to become meaningful, helpful, and spirit inspiring. That experience started in the army, and then became very strong shortly after my wife passed away, It stayed strong for some time and is now in a different hard to describe phase. I’m interested in the topics Bible study has presented, enjoy worship, and ,as it has for the longest time, gain a lot from music, sometimes the lyrics, sometimes the melody, and sometimes both. I do much better in small group settings. I can find plenty to do by myself and not be bored.
Prayers for those who are now with the Lord, thankful that there is life after this existence. Faith in God makes that so.
The leaves, especially maples, make this a very colorful time. Not at peak yet, but there are some very bright reds and oranges. Sanding on the deck is done, the last section primed today. Two coats of stain and the deck is ready for another year.
God’s blessing on you all, now and always. Thank You, Lord.