Tag Archives: community

The Power of Being Welcomed.

Recently I moved to a city that I knew very little about. It’s truly been a seamless transition, and I’ve actually forgotten that I’ve lived here for such a short time. What has made it such a seamless and easy transition, you ask? I have been welcomed with open arms.

One great source of welcome has been my new parish community. I’d heard a lot about this parish from other people in my age bracket. I went there and saw for myself how welcoming and kind the people were. At a recent event, a woman found out I was new to the parish and quickly made sure that I knew where she was sitting and that I was welcome to sit there, and introduced me to the people she was sitting with. On Donut Sundays, I know that can I sit at any table and find new friends. (By the way, I think every church should have an opportunity for fellowship after Mass or the Sunday service. Why is it not like this? That’s how community is built!)

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Lately I’ve been reflecting on how this experience is bringing me closer to Christ. By experiencing His love through the kindness of others, I am coming to know in a greater way Who He is.

The chilling truth is that many people have left the Church because they didn’t feel welcomed. Any person who is new to a church should find smiling faces and people ready to talk to them and bring them into community. It is up to us, the Body of Christ, to witness to Christ’s love. When a person is welcomed to a church, they will begin to grasp in a greater way Who Christ is. They will be more open to learning about Him. We’re called to make disciples of every nation. Let’s start in our own churches!

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Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

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Single Sundays-The Gift of Community.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

There is no question about it: every human being needs other human beings. As a single person, this is especially true. We are each a part of the Body. Yet we need the other parts of the Body to function well and fully. We can fulfill our purpose best when we are working alongside the other parts of the Body. As a spouse and a parent in the future, you will still need community outside of your spouse.

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Community is practice for marriage. That may sound silly, but in a way, it is. The people in our lives teach us to love. We learn to anticipate the needs of others. Our relationships reveal the areas we need to grow, and our strengths. We learn to forgive, both ourselves and others. These are such important qualities for marriage. I think sometimes as singles, we forget that who we are now will carry over into marriage. Getting married won’t magically change you into a more loving person. The way you are in relationships now is creating habits and norms.

A solid community will also be imperative when you begin courting. Your community can observe that person and give you feedback. Having married couples as part of your circle is a great idea. You can observe their marriage and find qualities you desire in your future marriage. They can give you advice. Who knows-they might even know another single person who would be suitable for you! As you court and begin marriage, they might be willing to serve as a mentor couple.

We need a solid faith community, people on the same road that we are. If your people are not on the same path, your friendships will not be as fulfilling as they could be. They will be empty, lacking the Living Water. People who share your faith will pray for you, giving you unseen strength. Good relationships help us to become the people we were created to be.  Positive relationships provide us encouragement, love, and understanding, qualities we need no matter what state of life we may find ourselves in. I remember a break-up I went through. I felt so weak. A solid faith community was so healing. They were a pillar of support during that difficult time, and I know the healing process would have been so much more difficult were it not for their love. There is strength in community. 

Even as a married person, you will still need community. The community you are building now will hopefully build a foundation that you can even take into your marriage and the rest of your life. They can be a blessing to your spouse and children as well as yourself! We cannot do this journey alone. As a single person now, you need supportive people in your life! Let’s be real: singleness is not easy!

With Jesus and a solid community at our side, we can stand firm and know we are not alone.

What benefits have you found in community? How are you working to build community as a single person?

The Word on Wednesday

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”~Hebrews 10:23-25

The huge theme of this passage is encouragement. The author encourages the reader (you!) to hold fast to your hope in Jesus without wavering. This means that our hope protects from doubt. We are reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness. Even in difficult times, our God is faithful to us and upholding us. We are exhorted to encourage others and stir them up to good works. Christian community and its necessity is mentioned. We cannot neglect a faith community, and must hold strongly to it. Community strengthens all of the individuals within it, thus strengthening the Church as a whole. The book of Hebrews gives strong advice to us about running our race and enduring even in difficulty.

(It’s been a long time since I did one of The Word on Wednesday posts. I will try to be more consistent about this! Thanks for reading!)

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Your Body=A Temple of God

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”~1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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(courtesy of unsplash.com)

Our bodies are gifts given to us. These bodies are the vehicles which allow us to serve God and our fellow human beings. They allow us to experience the gift of life. We are only given one chance to live, one body to work with. How are you doing with treating your body as a temple, remembering that you were made in the image of God?

There is so much evidence about the effects on our bodies of many different things–smoking, sugar, lack of sleep, etc. Young people often make health choices and don’t see the negative effects. So they continue to make those choices, not realizing the cumulative damage that these choices are having upon their bodies.

It can be difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle nowadays. I am thinking specifically of living in North America. There are ingredients in the foods sold in our stores that are banned in other countries! This society also encourages us to produce, produce, produce. This can lead to large amounts of stress, less sleep, and even less time to prepare and eat healthy meals. Many jobs are also sedentary. Most people are not getting the exercise they need to stay healthy. Is it any wonder that people are stressed out and sick?

As in the other areas of life, God is calling us to be different. We are called to honor our bodies as creations of God! As the verse at the beginning of the post states, we were bought with a price! Christ gave His very body so that we might live. By taking care of our bodies, we are honoring God and His sacrifice on the cross.

Here is a checklist I came up with to figure out how we’re doing well and where we can ask God’s grace to make improvements (and perhaps find an accountability partner):

  • Am I getting the sleep my body needs each night in order to feel refreshed and ready to do God’s work the next day?
  • Am I choosing foods that nourish my body and leave me feeling energetic and healthy?
  • Do I take opportunities to exercise and move my body?
  • Am I listening to negative music, watching bad movies, or spending time with other unholy and draining influences?
  • Do I respect my own body and the bodies of others, in my thoughts, words, and actions?
  • Am I taking care of my emotional health and taking opportunities to recharge and also to spend time with positive community?
  • Do I love the way that God made me or do I think negative thoughts about myself?
  • Am I nourishing my soul by spending time in prayer with God?
  • Am I honoring the Sabbath and refraining from unnecessary work on that day?

What tips do you have for taking care of the temple of your body?

Carrying Heavy Crosses.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”~Matthew 16:24

A new year seems to signal hope for many people. Yet many are struggling with heavy crosses, wondering when the joy in a new year will come. One family lost a baby. Others are struggling with cancer diagnoses. Marriages are shaky and fighting to make it. I myself felt like January just wanted to knock me down, as trial after trial came my way.

Jesus warned us that we would have crosses. He never promised we would have it easy. In fact, He told us just the opposite. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)winter cross

We must learn to lean on Jesus as we struggle with the weight of heavy crosses. Our crosses unite us closer with our Lord. Yet, do you recall that even Jesus had help in carrying His cross? Simon the Cyrenian assisted at a time when Jesus continually fell and could no longer bear the weight alone. This shows us that we are not meant to carry our crosses alone. We need community to strengthen us when we feel powerless.

As that cross bears into your shoulders, know that He is walking alongside you. He’s helping to carry the weight so that you won’t fall. Yet there are people from the Body of Christ placed in your life to help you also. (If you don’t know who they are, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you.) It is good to ask for prayer, for help when needed. There is no shame. Let others use their gifts. And as you see others struggling with their crosses, help them. Pray, but also take action and do what you can.

Keep walking, dear disciple. One foot in front  of the other. Your resurrection will come.