Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Relationships & Community

So I've been thinking a LOT about community lately-- everything from lessons learned over the summer (yes, that post SILL will come!), to my experiences as an Intern Chaplain at Greenville Memorial Hospital, to life in the local body of Grace Baptist church, to the teaching on the Church I'm getting (and LOVING) during RUF Core Group (student leadership) on Mondays, to the conversation Chad, Melanie & I had last Monday night late into the night. Oh yeah, and that whole "significant other" thing. =D It's like God REALLY wants me to get this, or something!

For those who may not know it, I'm an intern this year at the hospital as a part of my participation in Furman's "EVM" (Exploration of Vocation & Ministry) Program. It's through our chapel, which, yes, actually DOES in many ways point people to the only Savior. The program's geared towards preparing students for a lifetime of vocational ministry, whether as a pastor, medical missionary, Christian counselor, non-profit organization CEO, whatever. We intern at one place around Greenville per year (first year at the chapel, one year at a mercy ministry, one year at the hospital, one year in a local church), meet every Tuesday night for group discussions, fellowship & speakers, and have to turn in weekly "theological reflections" on our experiences. It's a good way to force us to look at everything in light of our Calling-- to line up our lives with the Gospel, and to worship in everything that we do. This is from a "reflection" I just turned in:

"As you may have guessed from my comment in EVM large group tonight (on God using community as a way to strengthen us; we can’t do every aspect of ministry alone—we need others!, a la Moses, Aaron & Hur), one of the truths that’s being hammered into me on all sides right now is the absolute need I have for community. God didn’t just send words as truth; He literally embodied them as the Living Word; a Man who calls Himself Truth. He sent relationship. And He didn’t send His Spirit into individuals, He sent Him to a Church. [...] While the group with whom I travel weekly down to the hospital is not my "church" by any stretch, we do form at least an aspect of each other’s community. It’s a benefit I’ve never had before in EVM (and if I’d had it, I wasn’t willing to open myself up to it, or invest in it), and one I didn’t expect when I decided to pursue the hospital internship. [...]

The Gospel makes relationship—community—possible like nothing else, because it abolishes pride, and pride is what keeps people separate. If we really are so bad that it took the Cross to save us, and yet really so loved that He WOULD die to save us, there’s very little to hide, and very little to fear! Praise Jesus!"

My Sandra CD hasn't left my car CD player since Katie gave it to me last Saturday, and I often play it off my computer at home, too! She just sings my heart so much-- Ash & I agree that if we could write songs, they'd sound a lot like "Sandy Mac"...but we just aren't that talented. But why would I complain!?-- I can live off borrowed words no problem! This CD (Best Laid Plans) is all about relationships-- failed ones, refining ones, ones that are worth working through, and the Ultimate Relationship with the One who never lets go. I can understand them so much more after this summer, after having close friends in my face and in my life, like Chris & Val and Ashley & Trin...or like having those relationships that go way back (so they know EVEYTHING about you), like I have with the Donells... and most recently and differently, after dating a godly (and sweet!!-- even Helen Sarratt agrees =D) man. (As a side-note, I never realized that dating would show me just how FAR from Christ's image I am...urg...)

I'm willing to bet just about everybody (especially you married or dating folk) can identify with this song! It's honest but full of hope...which real honesty is, because the Gospel is true! And it applies to SO much more than dating relationships...

//"You are to me/A wildflower and a loaded gun:/ Oh, we blush and we bleed/ and change our colors with the rising sun./ Nothing ever goes as it should/ So I will lay it down…

//[Chorus] I’m gonna find you out/All I meant to say, all the time we waste,/ we can work it out./ Let’s rebuild this house/ ‘Cause when it’s come and gone/ we realize what matters/ anyhow…//

//Like water on fields/ We drink this love like a desert land./ After the famine years/ There’s a harvest of labor and understanding./ Nothing ever goes as we plan/but I will lay it down/…so I can find you out…(Chorus)//

//Bring the truth out in the open,/ I don’t wanna lose this moment/ Here before the sun goes down…

<Words and music by Sandra McCracken and Chris Pelcer>
...lots more where that came from, but the phrase "it was late and i was tired" is becoming the theme of my life. and that's probably NOT a good thing!
Thankful for the Church, and for community!!

1 comment:

GloryandGrace said...

"(As a side-note, I never realized that dating would show me just how FAR from Christ's image I am...urg...)"

As your relationship grows, as your love abounds, so with this truth. Such a relationship will bring out the absolute best and absolute worst in you. Why? Because while you're complementing one another as male and female (and enjoying doing so!), you're realizing just how self-centered you are and just how dependent you are on HIS GRACE! I know I don't deserve the grace and love poured out in my relationship, but praise the Lord for His faithfulness in using such a relationship to refine me and teach me (at times harshly) what it means to die daily.

Thanks for the post :)