Community Comes in Unexpected People and Places
On that day ... I will say ... "You are my people"; and [they] shall say, "You are my God."
"Find your tribe." It's a pretty popular quote lately that gets plastered on shirts and Facebook walls. It comes in part *I think* from this quote from A.J. Downy:
When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with glad cries of "Me too!" be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe.
The idea is that we all need that safe community where people know us for our true selves and love us for our gifts and our shortcomings. It's a nice thought, right? Find a safe, loving place to be who God created you to be. Who doesn't want that in their lives? Even the prophet Hosea picked up on this idea when he foretold of a time when God would embrace God's people and they would proclaim that they belong to each other.
I do see at least one major problem with our desire for tribal identity - it puts us in community with a lot of people who are like us. Think about it. The people we have affinity for tend to, in one way or another, reflect some shared way of thinking or being. Out tribe is usually made up of people who have the same political beliefs, or worship where we worship, or read what we read. It is natural to gravitate toward commonalities because it provides a great base for relationship. But as Christians, there is a bigger view of community we are called to that takes us outside of our tribe(s).
Just think of the community Jesus called to be with him in ministry, the disciples. The people whom Jesus called were not from the same tribe as Jesus. Yes, they shared some fundamental beliefs, but they came from all walks of life. In many ways they left their tribes to become disciples of Jesus. Remember how Simon and Andrew left their livelihood of fishing to follow Jesus, or how James and John left their father, Zedbedee, in the boat where they were fishing? (Matt. 4:18-22) The first disciples left the kinship of people who were like they were to be with lepers and tax collectors. They left their tribes to be part of community and in doing so, they found God.
Sometimes I wonder if in my own life I spend more time with my tribe or in community. Certainly, I strive to live in community, but I also acknowledge how easy it can be to settle into the comfort of being with people who share so much in common. The challenging message for me and for us all in this Easter season is that God does not call us into a tribal identity, but into a community identity. Our community is made up of all who say, "you are my God." This diversity is messy and tense. It can put us next to people who are 180 degrees away from us in thinking and living. It can be frustrating and might even push us to retreat into the safety of our tribe who thinks just like we do. But it is in community, with all of its difficulties, that we find God.
If you haven't yet, please consider signing up for our upcoming, intergenerational small groups which will run May through June. For three months we will share three meals with each other, fellowshipping around a table, building stronger relationships and encountering God along the way. For more information and to sign up, please visit: http://bit.ly/GraceTableGroups.
The Vision at Grace
our surrounding community, spiritually and physically, while
outward with God's love and intentionally
all in the name of Christ.
Sunday, May 7
Tuesday, May 9
Needles and Prayers, 7pm
Saturday, May 20
HELP Ministry, 9am, Meet in middle parking lot.
Sunday, May 21
Church Council Meeting, 12:30pm
Tuesday, May 23
Needles and Prayers, 7pm
Have you been feeling led to lead in worship in some way, but don't necessarily like speaking in public or don't know the first thing about decorating an altar? One leadership possibility you may check out is the Audio/Visual Team! This team allows us to hear our worship leaders and follow through our worship on the slides projected in front of us.
If this is something that interests you, please join us for an hour-long training on all of our technology in the balcony after worship, this Sunday, April 30th. We will learn the basics of our sound system and sound board, and learn how easy it is to run our slideshow each week. No prior experience is required.
Please email Michael (mdauterman at graceonponce dot org) with any questions.
In the hospital: Steve Weldon
(DeKalb Medical - If you'd like to visit, please call Laura Weldon first.)
Please remember in your prayers all who are experiencing health issues/recovering from them:
- Marilyn Altman
- Johnny Chappell
- Alice Maclin
- Betty Nash
- Lydia Sharian
- Shawn Stephens
- Steve Weldon
Sharing Our Gifts
Give to Grace. Safe, secure, one-time or recurring, tax-deductible giving is available by visiting www.graceonponce.org/donate or by scanning the below QR code.
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Thank you for your faithful support of the work that God is doing through Grace Church!