Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds. You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
What has been your experience with “community” outside the church?
What has been your experience with “community” inside the church?
When have you bridged the gap of differences?
Receive It. Some experiences transcend the need of verbal understanding. When I was young, I swam in a pool on vacation and made friends with a Spanish-speaking girl about my age. Neither of us spoke the other’s native language, but we found a common language of play and enjoyed the afternoon together. One of my favorite pastimes when in airports when I travel is watching and listening to families. I don’t know what their words say, but I often make assumptions based on tone and body language. We were created for community even though we often come across differences. The barriers we think withhold us from shared experiences crash to the ground as we play, imagine, and laugh together. We stand shoulder to shoulder as we mourn through tragedy, give through service, and celebrate in triumphs. We can use differences to divide, or we can use differences to motivate us to find common ground.
To find common ground, you must be willing to shift your habits, comfort, and self-centeredness. You don’t need to relinquish yourself completely; you simply need to find what aspects of yourself and your own life shares similar qualities with others. God brings people into your life for the purpose of sharing. He intends for you to experience life alongside others, and sometimes – often times – the experience of authentic biblical community is outside your comfort zone.
Live It. Build a bridge between yourself and someone else. Perhaps you’ll write a letter or call someone in your past with whom you have something that’s unresolved. Perhaps it’s someone in your present with whom you’ve recently had a misunderstanding. Perhaps it’s someone with whom you need to reconnect simply because time or distance has put space between you.