If any word sums up this week it would be "community." I know that's such a buzzword in some of the circles we're in right now, but this week proved its beauty and value in so many ways. We're just not made to be singular and private. Even D, as he crossed the country this week said, "I hate traveling alone." No one wants to experience life alone.
The highlight of my week was having a dear, close friend spend a few days with us and have other dear, close friends visit too. We got to know each other's kids and have them play together. We ate good food and wine. We could encourage, pray, discuss, talk about things we don't talk to ANYone else about. We could also laugh our heads off, watch What Not to Wear together, eat dessert every day, and trade parenting tips and war stories. There are people in your life that have gone places with you--maybe not for a long time even--but the depth of experience and honesty you've shared means there will be a bond between you. And I just love these visits where we fall comfortably into being around each other, despite being very different people. It's beautiful! (I'm not sure how I will be able to eat this week though after K's reading material and too much key lime cheesecake.) I love reconnecting with people, erasing a year or more between us, knowing better how to pray for them, knowing that they are praying for you. And at the same time, I wasn't as sad when she left. Over the last year, I've become more comfortable in my present life. Another person is in our house and our family is even more connected. Wonderful women have faithfully pursued me, kept after me and some of the void of not working and not being around my colleagues has abated.
And then Sunday morning...Sometimes we get bitter and critical about our church homes. Our preferences and sin and distractions rob us of enjoying Sabbath fellowship. But our church is fighting for the kingdom! It's not perfect, not always how I would do it, but they are trying. Worship focused first on the beauty of Christ and I was also enamored with the beauty of worshiping with the Body in our physical bodies where I see the joyful faces of my brothers and sisters singing, or the talented hands bringing music out of an instrument. I'm glad they rearrange the instruments on stage--have you ever watched a talented, passionate piano player play for Christ?! It's beautiful! The sounds are beautiful, the images beautiful. The feel of my husband beside me or passing the peace with my neighbors is tangible beauty.
Jeff's message in the Family Matters series (on Eph. 5:3-21, yikes!) reinforced that need of journeying together in community to battle the dark places of our hearts. We can't be private Christians praying to a private God. We matter to each other. He hit all the right points, brought us back to the gospel, and then led us into corporate and private confession. In a weird way, it capped my week.
Now, isn't that just like God?