Wednesday with Jillene: community continued

I haven’t stopped thinking about community, thinking ever deeper about what it means to be the body of Christ. I’ve been turning this over in my head for a while, striking up conversation with (slightly- ’cause if you know me then you know what talking to me can be like) unexpecting people, blogging about it, digging into scripture, asking God to show me His truth… and repeat.

No really… and repeat.

Because here I am, blogging about it again. I thought I might, but then the day got away from me. I’ve had a bad headache, almost like I can’t think straight. But God is keeping this topic on the forefront of my mind, no matter how scattered my thoughts have been. So, yet again, I find myself typing a blog post pretty late on a Wednesday.

Why? Because while I thought I wouldn’t write today, this happened:

I went to leave camp this afternoon for a few errands and such. My eldest son was waiting for me outside and he was a little excited as he shared the story of walking outside to our van only to be surprised by a goose sitting on the camp road. The goose skedaddled down the road and sat near the edge of the field by the main entrance to camp.

Seeing geese here at camp isn’t usual. We have a few resident geese on the lake along with flocks en route south as autumn approaches. But I cannot recall ever seeing one alone much less up by the house.

Yet, here was a goose all by its lonesome. And it looked lost. As it walked it looked left, then right, left, and right again. I thought that goose was reevaluating some recent decisions and wondering how it ended up so far from friends/family and no where near the water. Then it started walking down Sandbank Road.

I was driving and asked my husband to take a picture of the goose for me. My eldest chimed in, “This going to end up on the blog. It is, isn’t it?” He knows me pretty well. I replied, “It just might.”

And here we are… I didn’t intend to but as I was trying to settle down with this headache still pounding I found myself thinking of that lone goose and googling why a goose might be alone. Reading on official nature pages, amateur opinions, college course material and the like when I found this:

A SENSE OF A GOOSE

Next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance to trying to go it alone. And quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What messages do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally – and this is important – when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the

fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I love it when we can see parallels in creation to truths of our Creator.

We were meant for community. And so, my friends, I will write another post about that tonight.

Ephesians 4 has been the scripture passage I’ve been studying for a while now, but even more so this week.

Unity in the Body

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.

However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say, 

“When he ascended to the heights,
    he led a crowd of captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”

Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Living as Children of Light

17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Having read that passage, hone in on verses 11-16:

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Just as geese benefit from flying together, so to do we benefit from submitting to one another as the body of Christ. We each have a role and as each one does their part, the whole body will benefit: we will be mature in the Lord.

No longer immature…

No longer tossed about by every new teaching…

No longer tricked with lies…

INSTEAD

We will speak the truth in love…

We will grow in every way more like Christ…

 

And just when I am filled with hope and yet overwhelmed by how far we as the church have to go…

Verse 16 speaks right to the heart of the matter: Christ makes the whole body fit perfectly together.

Tonight, that is my prayer, Christ be at work in us. Help us to submit to your leadership so that we may fulfill the role you have for us as your church, as your body. May we come to understand how to speak the truth in love. That we are not just resounding gongs or clanging symbols. Strengthen us to do the special work you planned in advance for each of us to do. Jesus make us your body, healthy, growing and full of love. 

For many years now I’ve been working with youth, at camp, through the ABY Convention, in Sunday School, assisting with Youth Group, speaking at events and raising my own children. My heart is grieved for them as I watch them struggling with the harsh realities of being a Christian teen in today’s world. I’ve heard their conflicted hearts as they try to discern how their faith addresses daily living. I’ve watched as some make the choice to walk away…

Church… our… yes, our youth need us to be the body Christ. We need to be there, together, to be there for them and allow them to be there for us. We are meant to be community.

When reading up on why this goose might have been all alone I came across this answer from another post where a woman had found a lone goose on her property:

 “You also might have a juvenile or first timer who just got lost.”

The hope for the goose was that another skein would fly over and pick him up. And I think of our teens, the pressure, struggles, and lies that they face. Friends we need to step up and be there for them: teach them of the beautiful, life-changing message of the gospel, share with them our testimonies of God at work in our lives, support their development as believers, offer them inroads to putting their God-given gifts and talents into practice in the body of Christ, and guidance when they stumble and fall away.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2

This isn’t just about those who are “youth people” or those gifted in teaching. This is about being the body of Christ. “As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

Is God calling you to step up in doing your part? Who has God placed in your life for you to help grow? Maybe it is an unexpected person or in an unexpected way.

How is all of this speaking to you? Share with me, send me a message, email or phone call. I’m interested in hearing how the Spirit is at work in your life!

~Jillene

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2 Responses to Wednesday with Jillene: community continued

  1. Donna says:

    Hi Jill. I have been struggling with a situation at work. A 20something I work closely with is having trouble at college. Yesterday I spoke to her about “selling herself short” taking the easy way out.I felt guilty about what I said after as truly iit is none of my business. However after reading your blog I feel that from my life experience and habit of selling short, I might have a prospective that God wants me to share with her. I keep this young woman in my prayers, she has so much to give &I see her selling short her dreams. I want to encourage her with the promises &hope of Christ to be patient &wait on the Lord’s time. After reading this scripture I am encouraged to be a small voice that says to her ‘keep fighting!’. As always thank you for words of encouragement.

  2. Pingback: Wednesdays with Jillene: when you don’t feel forgiven | campvick

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