Since this is Thanksgiving Day, I’ll keep this short for the carb-laden readers struggling to stay awake for more than two paragraphs. But on this day, I wanted to make a point to say that I am thankful for Christian community: locally and right here online.
By nature I’m an introvert, and the sort of person who’s happiest around a handful of loved ones. I’ve often aired my grievances about the extroverted nature of the church as a whole, and about misinterpretations of what “fellowship” is or should be. And yet Christian community is a critical part of my spiritual life, and I cherish all the forms it takes in the day-to-day.
I’m fortunate to have found a church locally where I can joyfully worship with other believers who care about me. Having gotten through grass-is-greener syndrome (where I kept looking for a “perfect” church), my husband and I managed to find a church that lets us be us, that lets us serve and be engaged, and that nurtures and challenges us spiritually. And now that we’ve settled there, I find myself praying for other believers who I know are struggling with finding a similar place. Sometimes finding the right church is hard. Feeling like an outlier or invisible within your own congregation is even harder – and I sympathize, because I’ve been there. But my hope is that people in that difficult position will eventually find the place that is right for them. It means a lot, and it matters to me that we’ve found “our place” for now.
Beyond that, though, I’m grateful for the other, more unique communities of believers that slip in and out of my life from day to day. I’m thankful for the constellation of believers I know at work, and in organizations that I belong to, and in my neighborhood: we are not deeply intimate friends, and yet we all have that blessed and shared sense of belonging in Christ. We recognize each other, and we are there for each other. Without knowing the names of each other’s children or pets, we have volunteered to pray for or praise with each other.
My family is another one of those close-knit communities of believers, sharing God’s blessing through the phone and through texts and emails and long texts. And so is the community here, the comments and readers that I’ve met through this blog: people who trade ideas, leave encouragement, say prayers, or share praise. That it occurs in undefined cyberspace makes the thread of community no less real.
I hope, this Thanksgiving, you take a moment to be grateful for your little Christian communities too – whatever they look like and however they’re connected. Where two or more gather in His name, there He is, indeed.