Building Community

Several weeks I was perusing Facebook and saw an article that caught my eye, “I love Jesus but not the church just means you don’t love Jesus”, (2017, April 18) by Grayson Gilbert, so without thinking much about it, I reshared the article. Not surprising I got a couple of comments on the reshare and a couple that were sent to me privately. Those who sent comments were overwhelmingly in favor of not attending an organized church or, supported the notion that people should only go to an organized church if “it spoke to them”, that people can and should worship outside of the four walls of a building and that lastly, that the organized church is a broken down shell of what it was intended to be. That those individuals who attend a church on a regular basis seldom act like the Savior that they go to worship.

In the weeks since the repost I’ve been watching people, how they react, interact with others. How they seem to need, or not need each other. What really persuades us to leave the comfort of my own isolation to seek companionship from someone else? What draws us to each other? And more importantly…why are we drawn to someone else?

Today is Memorial Day. A day to reflect on the women and men who left the comfort of their homes. They left their families, communities, jobs, schools, and everything they thought they knew for the complete unknown. Talk about courage! On this day, we remember their leaving. We remember the never returning. Their sacrifice was given not in isolation. It was given in the midst of companionship and camaraderie. It was given in and because of community. Their sacrifice was given in the midst of memories of all the others that never returned.

I’ve been doing Cross Fit for about 7 years, and as is our custom on Memorial Day we did a special workout that commemorates that giving and never returning. The sacrifice. The pain of remembering the giving. As is our custom, we do the workout as a community.

All throughout the 52 minutes and 49 seconds it took me to finish a 2 mile run, 100 ring rows, 200 weighted sit ups and 300 air squats I watched the people around me finish the workout with sweat, pain, slight regrets, smiles and one projectile vomiter. It was hard! But we did it! We did it together. We do hard things better, when we do them together.

Can I do hard things by myself? Yes, absolutely! Will I do it just as fast? Probably. Will I still feel pride as I come crawling in from the last mile. You bet I will. But who would congratulate me if I was by myself? Who would witness the crossing of the finish line? Who would cheer and clap if I was by myself? Who will pick me up when I fall? Who will tell me that I can do hard things? I can definitely do hard things by myself, but I prefer to do hard things with other people who are doing hard things. Truth be told, I think most of us would. We’re stronger together.

Working out by yourself doesn’t mean you’re not an athlete; doing church online or in the woods, or in your own home by yourself doesn’t mean you aren’t a Believer. But it does mean you aren’t in community. Doing hard things as a community builds community. When we aren’t in community it’s really easy to stop finding the importance in doing the hard things.

Thank you to all the men and women who gave it all for all of me. Your sacrifices does not go without my deepest and my humbling appreciation. I pray that I live a life worthy of all you gave. Learn more about the sacrifice of Lt Michael Murphy

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