“They ate till they had more than enough, for He had given them what they craved.” -Psalm 78:29I’ve been so encouraged recently to watch relationships with people in our church community continue to grow and deepen. Last Tuesday evening at our monthly dinner party, the atmosphere seemed to feel a lot like home – where people were laughing, eating and sharing stories together; a place where each person is accepted just as they are and where their words matter. I get excited when I see things like this because I truly believe that finding and experiencing such relationships and community in life is like coming home to a place our hearts are always in desperate search of.
When we set out on this journey several months ago, I can’t tell you how many times I was warned about the difficulties we would face when it came to carrying out our vision…one that emphasizes relationships over programs; one that is driven not by doing church, but by being church. And as we continue to build and deepen our relationships with one another, I see our love growing as we continue to move toward our mission to extend the life and love of Christ to our surrounding community.
So what’s the problem with carrying-out such a vision?
Relationships can be messy sometimes, can’t they? In fact, when it comes to offering a relationship to someone (one that includes your heart and your love), we can easily find ourselves in a dangerous place. Why? As the famous song so appropriately puts it:
Love hurts, love scars, Love wounds, and mars any heart. Not tough or strong enough to take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain. Love is like a cloud, holds a lot of rain. Love hurts……ooh, ooh love hurts
Once you open yourself to a new relationship, you not only add the opportunity for things like authenticity, honesty, depth, acceptance and love; you also add the opportunity for hurt and betrayal. That’s the danger we face in relationships, in becoming a relational community…and maybe that’s why we sometimes find ourselves running from such things. But to run from something your heart craves (because God created us with a relational-need, to Him and to others) is maddening. It’s simply a risk we MUST take to survive and find satisfaction and fulfillment in life.
Discussing this issue with our Core Team Sunday stirred my heart to keep standing for something I passionately believe in…that relationships are what matter most to God, and though they can be dangerous and difficult to manage at times, there’s nothing our hearts need more than a place where we find ourselves unafraid, where we belong, where we can rest and feel the warmth of the love of God through the love of others.
May Awaken be such a place, where we find home in the unchanging love of God, in the fellowship of walking with Jesus and with friends, and in giving ourselves away freely to our neighbors and God’s mission to bring every heart home to Him.