“Community” is a popular catch-phrase today. This week I found an old piece I had written about some of the lessons on community I learned through the one-year course I took for my first year of college, an integrated curriculum for a small group of students focusing on God’s purposes throughout history. I decided to adapt it to share here.
One evening early in the school year, perhaps half of our group of twenty gathered in the prayer room of our dorm. There, under the dim lights, world maps, and simple cross of the little room, we prayed together that God would make us one. Not a homologous morphing of sameness, but one in heart and spirit with a love that would put each other before ourselves. And slowly, over the next weeks and months, we saw God answer that prayer…and I learned the meaning of community.
I learned that community gathers together for a surprise party on birthdays, and everyone pitches in for the birthday dinner and gift. Community means the girls in your hall halt their lives to hug, comfort, and pray for a sister who is hurting. Community studies together on three dorm beds pushed into one and stays up till midnight talking through deep issues of society and the heart—or laughing yourselves silly. Community gathers to cry and pray when a member of the team sent to India falls off a mountain and is paralyzed and pools resources to send him a special visitor when he returns to the states.
Community means when you get a call late at night that your mom has been taken to the hospital, you know someone will dump what they are doing and give you a ride. Community can vehemently disagree during class discussion time yet amiably hang out together later. Community means you gladly give up study time to substitute at work for a hurting friend. Community means all you need for worship time is a guitar and a few people sitting on the floor.
Community brings together a group from Connecticut to L.A., Ohio to Washington, Germany to Korea, and makes them one because of the One who unites them as one Body in Him.