The Power of Community

Identifying the deepest longing of our hearts is absolutely critical to finding the goodness of life. Unless we learn to seek the right things for the right reasons, we will inevitably go astray. The Christian story reveals that our deepest longing is to be loved. An essential part of this longing is to love and respect ourselves, which is related to our ability to love others.

Does this sound easy and straightforward? It does to me. But I don’t always find it easy or straightforward to practice. The difficulties arise out of our struggles with loneliness, isolation, and the haunting feeling that we don’t fit in or belong.

This Sunday, we have a wonderful opportunity to help one another in this process. Whenever we gather as a congregation, we do so as flawed, wounded people who have infinite worth, value, and potential in God’s eyes. Every time we gather, we hope to do a little better at being an authentic Christian community — a community in which each person is welcomed, accepted, embraced, and affirmed. When this happens, we transcend our loneliness and experience the indescribable joy of being loved for no other reason than for being who we are.

Presbyterian pastor Dr. William P. Barker describes how the experience of Christian community has been handed down to us and continues to live on through us: “Astronomers claim that light travels 186,000 miles per second. If that is too hard to imagine, think of it another way: The starlight shining in your window left the star about the time Shakespeare was writing his plays. The light has been traveling all that time to reach you and provide its light.”

Then Dr. Barker adds these insightful words: “The work of the first disciples still influences you. Centuries ago, men and women were commissioned to make disciples of all nations. Although they have been dead for almost two thousand years, the effect of their work has traveled through history and touched us. It is felt in our lives and in our churches today.”

Let’s join together this Sunday to build a Christian community that can truly be a light for the world!

In love, hope, and peace,

Evan Howard,