Community

Housemates at dinnerSince I was a lonely ninth grader I have always been part of some sort of small group through my various Christian communities. In Hudson, I went to weekly Bible studies with Young Life called Campaigners, attended youth group at Hudson Community Chapel, and attended Discipleship groups. As college began, I continued my involvement with Young Life, attending First Year Fellowship in Canton in hopes of being a Canton-area Young Life Leader (a hope that I cast aside when Wess began youth pastoring). I also maintained my relationship with HCC, going to youth group meetings that year attempting to be a volunteer leader. By halfway through my sophomore year, Wess was youth pastoring at a small Friends church in Barberton and that became my leadership outlet, and we had a tight group of friends that met on Monday nights for Bible study, which sustained us through the remainder of college. Shortly after arriving in California, we joined a Friends church in Pasadena and hosted a small group there for a year. We were involved in Young Life Verdugo Hills for those first two years out here, first in La Canada, then Glendale. While doing Young Life in Glendale, we left the Friends church and joined the Mennonite church in Pasadena, and now (finally) for the past two years we have been in a small group of close friends through the Mennonite church.

(As I began writing that list, I realized it is serving primarily as a reminder to me of the role people have played in my life… I cannot curl into an introverted ball and sustain myself with books and chocolate. I also want to recognize the individuals who were involved in these various groups along the way–you have shaped me and been Christ to me. Thank you.)

Though I dragged myself to the Community Group Leaders meeting after church today, I am thankful for that network. So many days I find myself fighting to be alone–I don’t want to go to this or that event, meeting, or discussion group; I’d rather put on my pajamas and get to bed early. When it comes right down to it, though, without human contact I become what I hate.

We had a discussion that began with a series of questions, one of which was “what is the purpose of your community group?” My answer is similar to the same question posed towards marriage. In community, we find ourselves face to face with our humanity. We learn to forgive others and to allow ourselves to be forgiven… and to forgive ourselves. We become more in touch with the world and with ourselves, more giving of ourselves. Through community we are more able to follow Christ’s commandment to love one another even as he loved us, laying down our lives for one another. In community we can become more fully ourselves.

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3 Comments »

  1. Robin M. said

    Very nice. I like this answer – and it rings true for me about marriage too.

    Although, with fever and coughs making the rounds of the beds in my house, a ball that contained chocolate and books and no one else sounds like a wonderful place to be right now.

  2. edaniels said

    Thanks for the comment, Robin. I’m sorry to hear your family is sick. Time for books and chocolate isn’t so bad after all!

  3. I think one of my most favorite times of community we’ve had together was when we were doing the Canton Bible study, I feel like that was such an awesome experience. And come to think of it, when we lived on campus at Fuller I felt like that too, even though I complained that it felt like we were living in a dorm.

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