Have you ever sat in the presence of those likeminded? Sitting, observing happiness and laughter of people you care about is something that I think everyone should experience. Not outside of the happiness though, you are present. You belong. The concept of having people of all different backgrounds and perspectives coming together to achieve the same goal is something that I think Christ delights in.
The team for this summer is actively engaging and pursuing this type of community and belonging. There is beauty in the risk of actively seeking the type of relations that Christ has placed the innate desire for inside of us. We make time for things that are important. This has proven to be important to all of us because we make time for each other. From dinners all the way to weekly training we are all making an intentional effort to not just be physically present but also present in our minds and for each other and that makes all the difference.
The definition of community for me changes based on the group I'm in. In the short time we've been meeting, this group has such a sense of Jesus in that the "come as you are" of Matthew 11:28 is embodied as best as humanly possible. Welcoming and belonging cannot begin to describe it. I love this group and cannot wait to see how much Christ grows and stretches us this summer and the remaining of the semester. Each and every one of these people were hand-picked by the Spirit's guiding and it definitely shows. They treat others well. Their character shows up in all they do whether they realize it or not. They look at things from a different, love-filled perspective. They love others well. This truly is a wonderful group to be a part of.
This past weekend the team was at Camp Horizon in Arkansas City serving with some adults from First Baptist Church Augusta. We were able to pour into a group of middle schoolers throughout their craziness. The weekend was so jam packed full of fun, worship, small groups and building relationships with everyone there. It was so cool to be able to sit and just watch everyone be so joyful in the presence of the Lord. There were so many highs that the lows don’t even compare. From the hiking to Joel’s “Icy Whip” not starting when we were heading back, so many memories were made. I think I can speak for the group when I say that this weekend was just a teaser to what the summer will be like, and we want summer to be now!
This summer will be chalked full of risks and challenges but remembering that we are there for a purpose and that the people around me are going through the same thing is comforting. It reminds me of the disciples after the loss of Jesus, they were able to talk it out and grieve together because they had gone through it together. It brought them infinitely closer. Sharing your struggles and being vulnerable is difficult but going through life and all it entails is even more so. Sometimes a mere presence of someone in the midst of difficulty and trial is enough (take Job 2:11-13, for example). But the reward of fully engaging in community, especially one like this is so so worth the risk included. And as Michael Scott would say, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. -Wayne Gretzky."
This summer feels a million miles away, but I can’t wait to walk it with this amazing group.