Posts Tagged ‘community’

Real community

Posted: May 19, 2015 in Fear, Oh dear
Tags: , ,

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The other day, I did something really stupid. I dropped a blackboard on my foot. It hurt. Kind of. But I was talking to someone and didn’t want to look like a wuss so I didn’t say anything. I walked to my car, put the board in before looking down in case I was bleeding.

The lump on my foot was enormous. I went straight to find help from someone, quietly putting my hand on their shoulder and asking them to have a look. No fuss. The trouble is, by then I was feeling very sick and wobbly. Because when you don’t say ouch, apparently, your body forces you to take notice in other ways.

A trip to A and E and then later on a fracture clinic has led to a diagnosis of severe soft tissue damage. Two weeks later I’m still on crutches and wearing a Darth Vader boot each time I go out. And I still can’t carry anything around the house unless I either crawl or can put it in a shoulder bag.

The thing is, I’m the world’s worst at asking for help. I just don’t do it. I want to manage by myself, especially now as I’m not in so much pain. I feel like a total idiot going round Tescos in a wheelchair or not even being able to make my lunch. It’s frustrating. And I didn’t realise how ashamed and vulnerable I would feel about displaying the contents of my mostly empty fridge to the world. Yes, apparently I do each a lot of mouldy cheese sandwiches and chocolate biscuits. I didn’t realise that either before.

But yesterday, someone came and demonstrated church community to me. They not only took me round Tescos in that wheelchair, but then took me home, made my lunch, and cleaned my bathroom for me. Then they came and got me to give me dinner and company at their house that evening. And it’s not the first time either.

I’m just so grateful to be part of a community that cares. That makes sure people in need are looked after. It’s not always perfect, and it doesn’t always happen, but it is a shadow of the Kingdom of God breaking through in our world.

The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.

And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.

Once upon a time there was a girl. She lived in a world where people were supposed to be different. They were supposed to be nice to one another and care about one another so that other people on the outside might look in and say “Aren’t they nice? I want to be like them!”

She lived with a group of people. Sometimes they asked how she was. Sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they invited her to play with them or to eat with them, but sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes she would walk in and find them all playing together and no one had invited her. Or they would talk to the others around her and ask them about their lives and not ask her. It was like they would pretend that she wasn’t there. Some days no one would speak to her at all.

At first, it seemed accidental. I mean, you can’t always ask how everyone is can you? And you can’t always ask everyone to eat with you, can you? And you certainly can’t play with everyone all the time. But life got harder on the outside, and it seemed like no one cared. It seemed like the girl had become invisible. And the less that people played with her, the less people seemed to want to play with her, or ask her over for dinner. Or even ask her name.

Invisibility can sometimes be a gift. It can be a good hiding place,  helpful to quietly achieve things in the shadowy background. But sometimes it can be horrible. It made the girl feel like there was something wrong with her, but she didn’t know what that was. It made her feel like she had no value at all, and that there was no point in her even opening her mouth, because no one would listen anyway.

Sometimes it made her angry because no one cared. She knew that they should. Sometimes it just made her sad. Sometimes it made her wish that she was part of another world entirely, because at least then she wouldn’t expect people to care.

And that was when things unravelled. The patterns and habits of the past came back and behaviour and lifestyle changed. Because there was little point in acting like things had changed when no one else seemed to. Self-harm became a temptation – I mean, why not have something concrete that was actually wrong with her?

But then there was hope. Other people said they same thing, and decided to be nice to each other and play together with her and make sure that everyone and anyone was welcome to join in. They ate together, and it became the start of a beautiful friendship. Gradually, other people joined their group and no one felt that they were on the edges. Even those who had ignored her before decided that they had made a mistake and actually she was smart and funny and nice. And other people wanted to be like her.

THE END

Like it or not, God calls us to be in community with one another. We are also called to love our neighbour, whoever that might be. Are there any invisible people in your life, that would appreciate being cherished and valued for who they are? Do you ever feel invisible?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law […] Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 5:22, 6:2).

Just imagine a world where that really happened. Somehow, I don’t think people would be invisible then, would they?