Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I grew up in the church. Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, Christmas Pageants … they were normal occurrences in my family. As I got older, youth group became a part of every day life and I became involved in regional youth events and committees. As a college student at a faith-based school, I was surrounded by people of faith. We shared life together. Asking questions, celebrating good things, mourning losses, wrestling with doubt … none of it was out of the ordinary.
It wasn’t until I got out of college and began looking for a church community that I realized just how much my childhood and youth shaped me. I had grown up in Christian community and yet here I was, suddenly without it. My life felt empty and God felt just a little bit further away.
I had a hard time identifying what it was I was seeking. Maybe it was just a huge transition time in my life. Perhaps I just had to “find my way” in this great big world.
I don’t remember how it happened, but one day I came across this simple verse from Ecclesiastes. This was it! This is what I had been seeking. This is what church was all about. True community. Life together.
A community where people worship together, serve together, laugh together, cry together. A community who lifts one another up during difficult times. A community that talks about the tough stuff. People who truly live life together.
All too often, this isn’t what church is about. It’s about the perfect children’s programming, excellent worship, great Bible studies, and let’s face it…making the budget. But that’s not what God called us to. He didn’t care about the programming or budget. All he cared about was people loving one another.
What might life look like if we truly lived life together, no matter how messy it might be? How would our churches be different? How would our faith be different? How would our lives be different?
Have you ever experienced true community? How did it shape your understanding of church?