How do we find Christian Community?
People say, “We are wired for connection,” and I believe it.
The Christian communities realized this years ago. We are created to belong and our greatest fear is not to belong. Just think about how important it is to belong at school whether it is to be on the football team, dance or cheer leading squad, to be apart of the debate club you know what I mean.
Actively being within a Christian community is to belong. Even the structure of the Catholic Church and how we understand the Mystical Body of Christ shows that we belong. We belong to that Mystical Body of Christ, we are the People of God. At our very baptism we are made a part of this Mystical Body of Christ. We talk about Jesus being the head of the Body of Christ and us, the People of God being the Body. Every message we are given within the Church is about belonging, belonging to Christ, and belonging to others.
We learn from Jesus how to belong. He had the power of connecting…. At Jacob’s well a story about the Samaritan woman at the well. This is a story fraught with belonging and connection. To understand this story, we need to look at the historical moment in time when there was deep disdain between the Jews and Samaritans. Interactions between Jewish men and women were strictly limited. Women rarely were seen without their husbands and were more inclined to stay at home. There was substantial prejudice against the Samaritans by the Jews.
Jesus met the women at the well when he was travelling through Samaria. Jesus, a Jew, spoke to the women determined to connect. She did not even seem to understand why He would want to talk with her asking him; “Why are you asking me for a drink?” She was confused but He responded by saying “If I was saying this to you, you would have asked me for a drink, and I would have given you Living water”. They continued to talk and she realized He was not judging her but rather connecting. The outcome of their meeting is amazing as she goes into the city, preaching Jesus to the very people she previously was trying to avoid. People came to believe because of her testimony.
Let us quiet our bodies and pray.
Thank you God for bringing us into the community of the Catholic Church, for making us a part of the Mystical Body of Christ at our baptism. For letting us be in communion with you and the Church, the people of God. Thank you for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist giving each of us the gift of grace, of sharing in God’s life and love and for letting the Holy Spirit guide us. We also thank you for being able to participate in the Mass, and celebrate the Eucharist bringing us into a community where we belong. Thank you for nourishing us to live the life God wishes us to do. Amen.
In our lives within the Church there are many signs of belonging. Each time we cross ourselves and say in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we are showing we belong. Using the sign of the cross reminds us that we are loved by God. As we assemble together in Church or online we are a community and we belong.
We can fulfill our desire to belong to the church and receive the spiritual kinship. We are a community with a strong desire to help our neighbor. We can love, serve and sustain our community with God’s love. Jesus empowered the powerless, he gave a voice to the minority and listened to the unique story of each person. We need to open our minds and know that everyone can belong regardless of whether they are Christian, have different beliefs or orientation. When Jesus asked his disciples to follow him, they just followed Him.
Belonging is something we all seek. To be welcomed and not feel uncomfortable, not having to worry about knowing the right thing to do or say is to belong. Spiritual kinship is a beautiful sense of being in communion with God and those in our community. We should accept each other in our uniqueness, look after one another and care for our community.
Pope Francis suggests that “we are not Christians as an individual, each one on his own,” he said “ None of us become Christians on our own,” but rather, “ we owe our relationship with God to so many others who passed on the faith, who brought us for Baptism, who taught us to pray and showed us the beauty of the Christian life”. “We are Christians not only because of others, but together with others” he pointed out describing the Church as “a large family that welcomes us and teaches us to live as believers and disciples of the Lord.”
Let us pray for those around us, those in our community.
In our lives within the Church the are many signs of belonging. Each time we cross ourselves and say in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we are showing we belong. Using the sign of the cross reminds us that we are loved by God. As we assemble together in Church, or online we are a community and we belong.