The Lord is amazing and His plans for us are far beyond the awesomeness of our own small ways of thinking. Currently, God has taken us back to Spain. I never thought a year and a half ago that we would be able to return here. In fact, on all my adventures in so many different countries, I have had to make close friends and say goodbye without ever expecting to see them again. However, now my wife and I are back with such good friends here in Spain where we had our first date. We have even been able to have an adult “sleepover” with the first couple we double dated with. The story of how our first date came to be in Spain is one for another time. Feel free to ask us about it when you see us. One telling of this story took almost 2 hours and no one really likes reading long blogs anyway.
Here in Spain, it is hard to find time to write because we are spending so much time with our family. Spiritual family perhaps, but still family. Spain is where we first began to learn about true community. When people in the church begin to meet every evening for prayer, sit at a table after a meal is over for an hour or two, go on walk together… This is how community is built. In our fast-paced way of living, we almost have to budget our time with our friends. We do not have more than 30 minutes or an hour for lunch before we have to get back to work. Here, the people are so much more important than the other things going on.
For me, this is what true family is all about. When I was growing up, our family always ate together around a table. There was no radio, tv or other distractions allowed there. We would sit and eat together and talk no matter how hard it was sometimes. Even as I have grown older, I cherish the times we get around a table and eat, though our family is not even on the same continent most of the time 🙂 For me, table time is family time. It is hard to be angry at your family when you always eat together. There may be arguments, but eventually you know you will be around the table and have to talk about what is going on. Usually, the problems seem silly as you talk about them. Even better than this is when you get to share your triumphs with those closest to you. The table is where you learn about each other and truly become family.
In Spain, the church is a family. Last Friday, we had an unplanned gathering. Marie called Nancy and decided to eat together. Before long, 10 people were sitting around a table laughing and sharing more than a meal, we were sharing family time. So, the real question comes up. Do we in the US want real community? Real community means sharing hurts as well as laughs. It means the giving up of ourselves for the good of others. It means walking beside someone in the hardest of times and never giving up on them. For me, the more a church grows in size, the harder it is to build community. However, a church can never be truly strong and healthy, no matter what the size, if the community of the people is not strong.
Ask Holy Spirit if you are engaged in true community and family. If so, ask how you can add to your family and invite others to become a part of the Community of Christ. If not, ask how you can develop a spiritual family and be a part of the community the way Jesus intended.
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!