Come Sunday at the Krum Church, we’ll remember that Easter people live in community. Not just the superficial community some of us may settle for – the wave to the neighbors, drive through downtown, smile politely but keep the deep things to ourselves stuff of over-scheduled, underfed lives. We are made to live in community. It’s what God intended! God, who lives in community within God’s own self in the eternal relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, created us with the same capacity and necessity for love.
I found this wonderful story recently on Momastery, one of my favorite blogs: In carpentry, “sometimes an existing joist, which was designed to handle a certain load, becomes too weak. Maybe it was damaged by water or fire. Maybe it still has structural integrity but an addition is being constructed and the new load is going to be a lot heavier than before. Either way, now it is not as sturdy as it needs to be.
When a builder needs to strengthen that joist, she puts a new member right next to the original one and fastens the two together. Sometimes, two new joists are needed- one on either side. Do you know what they call that? A Sister Joist.”
We need our brothers and sisters and they need us. Sometimes something has happened in our lives, some tragedy or circumstance that has left us grieving and broken. Or perhaps good, new challenges have come along such as a change of job or the addition of children and the new load is heavier than before.
The common perception that Christianity is primarily about the individual and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is an insidious, modern heresy. Like the serpent in the garden, it whispers that we can be enough on our own.
But look at Jesus’ own ministry! Jesus didn’t collect a studio of students and only teach private lessons. No, he called together a small group, knitting them together in relationship with himself as well as with one another. The small group of the disciples and their rabbi was dynamic and life-giving. It allowed for questions to surface and lessons to be taught while ensuring that when the teacher was no longer physically present, they wouldn’t be alone in this life. Not only would the disciples receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, to comfort and empower them, but they would have each other.
It’s a good thing for all of us who call ourselves Christian to echo this example. If, for today, we aren’t the joists that need shoring up, then we are the ones called to stand alongside others, to lend our strength for a season. Because it all goes around in time. Those who lend strength today will need to borrow it someday. And if we live outside a deep community, our resources in times of need will be sorely lacking.
Some of us are blessed to find our first and best community in our families. This week also brings us Mother’s Day, an American holiday which originated with Anna Jarvis, a laywoman from the Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia in 1907.
While for some of us this holiday is a straight-forward obligation to call our moms or make sure we get a gift for the mother in our household, I ask us all to remember that for many, it’s not that simple. Motherhood, like any human relationship, can be a messy reality.
So, as you do your shopping or get your cards in the mail, consider praying for mothering relationships in all their forms. Those who have struggled with infertility. Those for whom motherhood was unwelcome or challenging. Those who have lost children to death. Those who have struggled in relationship with their mothers. Those who opened their hearts to children through adoption or foster care. Those who struggle to balance the demands of family life with work and other commitments.
Maybe Mother’s Day can be an opportunity to live a greater reality of what it means to be family. Jesus said, “Who are my mother and my brothers? Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:33, 35). In this simple statement, Jesus reconstitutes what it means to be a family, calling us to extend the love we usually reserve for our nuclear families much wider. So, this week, consider embracing the Creator’s blueprints and live in community.