I had lunch yesterday with a church-planting friend; and as we were chatting, one of the things he said really spoke into me. I think he was reading a quote that was tweeted to him, but I'm not sure it matters...It's the truth in what he said that matters.
He said, "The only difference between a homeless person and me is that I hide my brokenness behind a door."
Don't try to over-analyize it. Just let it sink in.
We're all broken. We all carry with us pain and hurt. It's just that some of us are good at hiding it from other people, whereas a person on the street has no choice but to put it all out there for others to see. It's especially true in a bedroom community like Lakewood Ranch where people try to hide their hurts from each other behind houses and hooch.
Someone shared with me a story the other day about someone else in a different church community who was going through a really rough time, but nobody else knew about it. The people were too embarassed to share it with anybody else, and were afraid of what other people at the church would think. So there was no support, no one to help them make the move, and nobody to help them make the emotional transition.
That's messed up! That's the opposite of the Acts 2:42-47 vision of a missional community! And unfortunately, that's the state of the North American church in many places. We go to our churches, plaster a smile on our faces, and give the impression that everything is OK. We head off to our small groups and exchange pleasantries as we talk about our work, the kids, and our beautiful homes. (Of course, maybe we'll let our guard down a bit as we complain about the cost of up-keep and what we'd like to change...That's safe.)
Meanwhile, we're crumbling inside our glass houses. We're carrying our burdens alone. The joy of life is sucked out of us by bottling it all up inside. Consider what I heard the other day on the radio:
"Pain shared is pain divided. Joy shared is joy multiplied."
And that's what being a missional community is all about. We share our pains with each other, and as we do so, people pour into us and help take our pain. But we also share our joys and triumphs, and as we do so, the community together experiences the joys. It's an incredible thing that happens in community...We love on each other and experience the blessings of being on mission together.
But missional communities not only care about each other; they also show care and concern for that homeless person that doesn't have a door to hide behind. They seek for a way to serve together to love on and bless their neighborhood. They live into that Acts 2:42-47 vision of meeting together often and giving to anyone as they had need. How that plays out will look different in each community as they adopt their neighborhood, but they are helping the hurting and dividing pain.
But here's the thing that so many Christians miss out on: missional communities take risk! We have to risk sharing our joys and pains, we have to risk the possibility of being "judged" (though true missional communities don't judge), and we have to risk giving more of oursleves than we thought we could.
But the greatest risks bring the greatest rewards! It leads to changed lives and changed communities.
It's what we strive for when we talk about building authentic communities at Current. We don't want people to come feeling like they have to be better than they really are or worse than they really are...We want people to come just as they are, and experience the peace, hope, and healing of Jesus.
So let's build authentic relationships with each other and with the people around us. Let's risk being that transformational, missional community together! Let's divide pain and multiply joy!
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