Gathered by God (18/100).

[NOTE from Jessica 04.20.18] This post is my clumsy attempt to wrap up and integrate my thoughts from this and this post. Please bear with me — even though I said I didn’t have a plan at the beginning of #The100DayProject, I still want there to be some semblance of coherence and an attempt to complete my train of thought. I will acknowledge that this could also be me responding to my OCD, and my (maybe unrealistic?) desire to wrap everything up nicely in a little bow before it’s forgotten and floating somewhere in the either. Either way, this is how/what I’ve decided to write today 🙂

In my last post, I was sharing a little about how friendship has looked for me as an adult. There’s a litany of reasons that many of us in this area and my season of life tend to recite. We say friendships are too hard because:

This area is so transient. Why bother when you or someone else you grow close to might move anyway?

I’m not working right now, I’m not around people often so of course, it’s hard to find someone that you can really connect with.

I already have a family to take care of. I’m too busy to even think about a social life.

I used to believe all these things wholeheartedly, and subsequently convinced myself that friendship is just a perk of our human experience. It’s secondary to all the things we really need like God, family, food, shelter, etc., etc. Friends are for people who have time and energy to focus on cultivating real relationships.

But, Scripture says otherwise (see my last post).

We, who were created in the image of God, were made for community — for friendship. The Trinity is the prime example of that. As Christians, we believe in three Persons in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

When we are baptized, we are grafted into the body of Christ, the family of God. By virtue of our baptism, we are grafted into the love, the relationship between the Father and the Son. We know that Love as the Holy Spirit.

And so the idea that friendship is too hard to even bother putting any effort in, I believe, is a Lie that the Enemy wields so that we are neutralized and become ineffective and numb to the reality that can set us free. The reality that we are sisters and brothers in Christ, called and gathered by God to bring about the healing and redemption of the world.

Can you imagine what our churches would look like if our eyes were opened to that reality? The deep sense of community, of being gathered by God?

That the stranger sitting next to you in the pew, regardless of whether or not you’ve crossed paths before, whether or not you’ve had a real conversation with before — that they too are fellow travelers on the same journey to the heart of God.

That every time we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, that the hopes and sorrows, joys and disappointments that we offer up are joined together, not just with Christ’s but with the offerings of the person who sat in the same spot that I did in the last Mass, and the Mass before that, and the Mass before that.

That there is no us and them. There is only us.

There are so, so many more thoughts I have on this. I trust that if it’s important enough, it will come up again.

Thank you for reading along and being a fellow traveler on this journey.

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