It was beautiful, really, once I really looked at what I was seeing.
I had stopped at a crosswalk to let an older couple cross the street. Arms linked, steps in sync, both moving slowly toward the restaurant. Neither walked effortlessly, and admittedly, their unsteady gait required some degree of patience as I waited for them to reach the other side of the road. But when I really looked at them, it was beautiful.
A man…a woman…leaning on each other, walking together in such a way that no one watching could tell which of them needed help the most. It might have been her, with hips and knees weakened from years of chasing toddlers and carrying babies. Or it might have been him, with a back that ached from many years on the job. I couldn’t tell, and I didn’t need to know. All that mattered as I watched them was that one of them needed help moving toward the goal, and the other was willing to step in and offer it.
And as they reached the curb and I drove on by, the thought occurred to me: isn’t that what the Church should be?
Picture it: a community of people walking so closely together, arms linked and stories intertwined, that they move as one. When one struggles, they all slow down to help. When one is hurting, they all reach out to offer support. When one can barely limp through the day, they all feel the lag and move inward to hold them up.
Can you even imagine? Imagine the world looking in on our churches and saying, “I know there are problems there, but I can’t even tell who among them is struggling. They all carry every burden, so none of them struggles alone. They move….well…..like one body.”
In the same way, even though we are many individuals, Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other. (Romans 12:5)
Can you even imagine it?
I have more I want to write about the subject of the church, community, and living life together – and I will, soon – but for today, I want to just leave it there. Imagine a community that walks so closely together that the struggle of one becomes the struggle of all. For today and this weekend, though, just imagine it.
What has been your experience of community?