Sun beams streaming in through the glass patio door invited me to step outside. I was welcomed with clear blue skies, fresh brisk air. And it was good.
As I slowly got ready for the day, I prayed for Loren who was at men's Bible study. Something is happening in my heart. Something that once was very normal, but something that has seemed distant this past year. I smiled in the mirror and I was overwhelmed with joy. I heard the door open, letting me know Loren was home. I could not help but ask him, "Don't you feel so blessed? So privileged to be living this life? I mean we get to live life by inviting people into community, by helping create a new normal for people. We get to meet with people and tell them they're worth it and point to Jesus. And we get to do that all day AND we get to eat. This is our life!"
I drove to the other side of town to pick up a lovely high school girl. We went to coffee and walked around downtown beneath the shining orb but through the brisk air. Our conversation held many pieces. Pieces of real life, like studying the Bible and how sometimes it's daunting and scary and yet if you don't do it, you feel guilty. Things like praying and how sometimes it feels like you're just talking to thin air, sometimes it feels awkward like Jesus is some far-off concept. We talked about why I love students and why I spend my days with many people. And it was good.
I enjoyed a liquid lunch with another amazing being. We talked about Heaven and how can we be sure we believe enough and is that a thing and where is Jesus and how can He allow people to be separated from good? And many other things were conversed about between her and I.
Loren and I played field games with students because they don't have school today. They ran around in muddy grass under the clear crisp sky while I stood on the side with my back ache and cheered them on. They were beautiful, slipping around in that mud throwing a ball and chasing it down.
We broke for hot chocolate + cookie break and decided it was time to walk to our apartment and play monopoly. So that we did and one by one they left as parents came to pick them up. These three stayed until 6:15, attempting to win all the monies.
As we dropped them off at home one at a time, I was so grateful to know them. I was honored to have their parents trust; to spend 6+ hours with them.
As we closed out the night enjoying Prime Time Crime which a student plays a part, we are blessed beyond belief. Blessed to live this life, with the ultimate hope of pointing to Jesus. We are honored to learn from Claire's graceful courage, Noah's faithfulness, Chad's humor and purity of heart. The list goes on. But I was reminded that without them, I'm not as whole. Without them, I don't gain more of Christ because they carry parts of Him that I don't. They help piece me together, they are [without realizing it] playing a major role in transforming me into Jesus's likeness. They also very much force me to dig into my Bible and ask Jesus for guidance, because without doing that, I would have absolutely no idea how to begin exiting the deep and real questions they ask. These kids push me towards Jesus and I am forever grateful.
And this is the same for you: you need the Bride of Christ, if you are in the category of Christian. You need us and we need you. Without you, we aren't as whole. Without us, you aren't as whole. Together, living life in vulnerable honesty [raw & real], we are His bride and we get a clearer picture of who Jesus is.
If you're in Corvallis and are in need of a church community, join us through Corvallis Church. If you're somewhere else, I hope and I pray you'll find a church community to join and invest in. Invest in community; don't just sit and expect to be invested in.
Imagine if every Christian pursued this life of living in raw and real community, centered around Jesus. Imagine if we loved one another, forgave, and were willing to invest in lives. Imagine if when Jesus said, "Go and make disciples," He meant it.
What are ways you invest in community and people? How do you invite others into your life?