Monday, June 26, 2006

Little house (church) on the prairie ...

I've been thinking a lot lately about our little house church group. We're part of a small group of Christ-followers that meets in each other's homes every week. My struggle lately has been with the disconnectedness that I feel and the lack of "community". We've always likened our group to being like a family, but I'm starting to feel like our gatherings are more social than spiritually uplifting. Anyway, one thing at a time ... community.

I was putting my thoughts down on paper the other day (my own manifesto?) and Eric asked me how I defined "community" and being "community oriented". That's a huge part of what I have always envisioned for our small group. What do I mean by community oriented? What does community look like to me? What do I want/expect/hope for living in community with others? I’m not sure I have adequate answers to these questions. Part of being community oriented to me means living in geographic proximity, and by that I don’t mean communal or living on the same street, but in a close neighbourhood. I have friends who all live on the same block of the same street and to me, these people exemplify community. Yes, they are “community” because they are neighbours and they live on the same block. But they are also living in community because they look after each other's kids, yards; they socialize together and have built relationships with each other – so much so that when one family was considering moving away, it was very difficult for others on the street to contemplate their leaving.

That speaks to me of community – being in close relationship with each other; friendships; supporting each other. As Christ-followers, that also means praying for each other and challenging each other in our daily walk with Jesus. I’m not always confident to ask others the tough questions (like Eric is) but neither is anyone asking me those hard questions either.

I come away from our gatherings feeling rather empty. Most times there has been litle spiritual input or encouragement. I want to be challenged and encouraged in my faith ... I also want that for my kids too. I know it means I need to bring something to the table every week too, and I certainly don't do my part there.

I'm just putting these thoughts out there. I feel fairly safe writing these things because most of the people in our small group don't read my blog anyway.

2 comments:

Lydia said...

Sometimes we can't or don't attend our little house church and I miss everyone terribly. It seems like I don't see anyone for a long time. But then I do. It doesn't matter who's home I'm in, I feel like I am home. There I get to spend time with the people who I feel the Lord has deliberately crossed my path with in this life. For what reason? I don't know. For how long? I don't know that either. Do I bring much "spiritual food" for anyone? - rarely -if I ever have at all that is. Have I ever encouraged anyone spiritually? Probably not. Some people in our little group I really don't say a whole lot to- that is - aside from "how are you doing?" or "how is work?" , you know... small talk kind of things that aren't really "spiritual" to some. But I love and feel connected to them more than I could ever tell you and I care about all the things that are important and happening in their lives. Thinking about Dean, Sara, Grant, Peggy, Lisa, Eric, all the young adults and all the kids (too many to write) brings tears to my eyes. Some I "feel" more connected to than others. Some I feel deeply connected to without saying a word at times. All are a special gift to me from the Lord. Four years ago today- I moved back to Winnipeg. Our little group has opened their hearts, homes, wallets, and lives to me and given me so much of their time, patience and prayer. My life has changed because of all of you and how the Lord has used you to encourage and love me. He continues to do so. Because of my "church family" and the "community " we share at any level- my life will never be the same. I have a long way to go... I know... and maybe things should change in our group and grow somehow, but I know one thing- spending time with all of you brings the Lord closer to me and warms my life with His love. That is uplifting to me. It convicts me of sin and causes me to want more change. I'm finding for myself more and more that "spiritual" things are not the things I thought. The Lord is there, in everything and that it can be "spiritual" if He has a part of it. I know also that not everyone may share my opinion and need more. For that matter -I may be wrong and change my mind (I tend to do that from time to time), but this is what I believe to be true today. Be encouraged today Lisa, the Lord knows what you need and He always delivers. I wish that I could somehow do for you, or encourage you spiritually like you have me. Please post this in your blog for me because I can never get on to respond. It won't let me sign in for some reason. I have nothing but problems with this stupid computer when I do and it boots me off of the site whenever I try- maybe… it’s just me and my lack of computer savvy. I'll just e-mail this comment- I guess. I love you.

Lydia

Lisa said...

Lydia,

Thank you. You always do encourage me.