Tonight is girls group, and I stand giddy like a school girl. I thank God for enriching my life with their smiles, and laughter, and curiosity, and gentleness. Tonight we are dusting off the ol’ juicer (well, more like new juicer…it was a wedding gift, thanks Benders!). I thought it would be fun to give each girl a few fruits and veggies and let them go at it! Maybe i’ll be adventurous and buy some exotic fruits to try out? We’ll see….
Today I got an email from a dear dear soul in Kenya. Her name is Nikole, and while i’ve never actually met her face to face, she is one of those people I feel I have been friends with my whole life. (Think Julia Child and Avis DeVoto) Her story is beautiful, rare, inspiring. After high school she up and moved to Kenya with hardly a connection, and now, years later, she is married to a wonderful Kenyan man and they are courageously and spontaneously living life in Mombassa. The initial threads to their story which began with the start of a soccer team made up of street boys in the community, has been woven into an ever expanding tapestry of ideas and programs for the future.
Community, a Quality of the HeartThe word community has many connotations, some positive, some negative. Community can make us think of a safe togetherness, shared meals, common goals, and joyful celebrations. It also can call forth images of sectarian exclusivity, in-group language, self-satisfied isolation, and romantic naiveté. However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own (see Philippians 2:4). The question, therefore, is not “How can we make community?” but “How can we develop and nurture giving hearts?”
Community therefore becomes an issue of the heart:) To be in community is a precious gift God lavishes on his beloved children, and yet his sacred desire is for us to posture ourselves as Jesus did, looking to commune with others through a genuine display of servanthood.
For myself, and probably many of us, this might require some diligent prayer asking God to wipe away the shameful selfishness of our being. For how often do we view fellowship as a way to advance ourselves? When people go on and on about themselves and never ask you a single question, we are annoyed. Often, when layers are peeled back, community becomes more about M-E than any other pronoun.
As we all seek after community in different areas of our life, let us be intentional about caring more for the interest of others than for our ourselves. May we see fellowship as a divine moment of love and service towards one another. And will we stoop to wash each others feet?