CommunityNew Every Morning | September 21, 2020
I am just a regular person trying to live my regular life. Except that my regular life largely includes being a Christian who doesn’t really like church or many of the people I find in church. The even trickier part is I’m also a Christian who believes that Christ calls us to live in the community of the church and to love our neighbors. So things have been kind of sticky most of my adult life. I am a well-raised, charming, highly educated young woman who can get even a mute person to tell me her or his entire life story in less than an hour. But that doesn’t mean I know about neighborliness and servanthood. It basically says I know how to work a room. Working the kingdom of God, on the other hand, is a whole other story.
—Enuma Okoro, Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community (Fresh Air Books, 2010)
What have you learned from your experiences with Christian community? Join the conversation.
And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.
—Hebrews 10:24-25 (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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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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I have learned that authenticity is possible. I have learned the courageousness of weeping, hurting people. I have met God in ways never anticipated, and walked away changed. I have experienced “God with us”…”where two or more are gathered in My name – I am in their midst”. Holy, holy moments – which draw me to these opportunities, which tug me away from my introverted tendencies and plunge me deep into His grace, mercy and love. Thank You, Father – for orchestrating these.
I, for the first time in all these months, feel a deep pulling to get back to church. Yesterday, the cancer support group at the closer church, met again in person. How I would have loved to have been there. The further church will begin meeting in person next week – I have not heard about the cancer support group there. I have been so grateful for the Zoom meetings which it has held since April. I think what it would be like, to sit masked and socially distanced, in those meetings. So much is missed when we can’t see each others facial expressions. But, eye contact and presence is powerful. I have discouraged dad from going back to church – to the crowds. But, suddenly, this morning…and it was simmering yesterday…I am feeling drawn back to in person church and worship. Father – help me to discern. Quiet my heart, I am listening.
I look forward to this week’s reflections – as this book was literally life changing for me. I started spiritual direction because of this book. And I will never forget meeting the author at SoulFeast (is that what it was called?) – attending her workshop/class.
Church – the gathering of people united in their belief in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – is important to me, Technology has allowed us to be together safely. I’m very appreciative of that. Of course in person contact is preferable, but my understanding of common sense says otherwise. I ask for God’s wisdom to know when it’s safe to gather. Yesterday, a visit by my sister took me away from a church parking lot socially distanced mask wearing gathering of my church community.
My Mom was born in the second wave of the 1918 influenza that was worse than the first wave in the spring of that year. Common sense, also a God-given gift, says beware. Prayers for the safety of all in this tough time. Thank You, Lord.
I am buying this book asap! This one paragraph describes me perfectly! I have none of what Jill descibed at the church I had attended for years here in Pittsburgh. When I was a teen and attended an Episcopal church with my best friend and her family, I did find a warm, accepting community and my faith grew.
Prayers for Jill and Larry, may God lead them and guide them in their decisions.
Prayers for Robert and his sage words of caution. I am very much in agreement with you, nothing is worth contracting a potentially fatal illness.
Prayers for Marcy, may her migraine pain remainat bay and may her range of motion increase.
Prayers for Ally and David, for health and brisk business growth and renewed sight.
With Megan absent for a few days, all kitty duties fall to me. Tazzie refuses to eat his canned food unless it has “extras” added. I know he doesn’t like the renal support canned food but it is all we should give him and the only way to get his meds in him. the kittens are still holy terrors. I am bone weary.
Prayers, thank you and stay well dear UR