I am new to this community thing. I can be honest and say I thought I had it figured out. I thought I knew what community was and how to operate inside of one. How to be part of one. But then I hopped on a plane and flew a few hundred miles and God dropped me here. And to give you a comparison, the way I knew community was like standing in the baby pool. Now I am thrown into the deep end of the pool. There is a whole new dimension I was unaware of. These people have a completely different community than I have ever experienced. Sitting in the barefoot meetings I have tried to put my finger on the main difference and the only thing I can come up with is authentic. They have an authenticity that makes me hunger for more. I’ll be honest, I drank the kool-aid. I know this because someone called me out yesterday morning for using the word “relationships” before 7 am. I do not know exactly what is in the kool aid but here is what I have seen: love, honesty, communication, vulnerability and unity.
This past weekend the tribe spent up in the mountains in Haiti at a lodge. It was green, a sight that we prayed we would see in Jubilee someday. Stateside people and those of us in Jubilee and Port Au Prince came together for a dynamic weekend of dreaming, loving and building relationships. We began each day with worship and a devotion, and we ended the day the same way. Throughout the weekend we had some awesome devotionals. Tia spoke first, and convicted me about being honest. Julie was up next and spoke on love, real honest love and what that requires. Mama Kathy then spoke on communication and how important it was for healthy relationships within the community. Lala I swear was speaking right to me when she spoke on being vulnerable and how it was a necessary component in love. Finally Ann called us the Body of Christ. Seeing all of those come together shows me unity. I have to say it is extremely hard not to think of myself first all the time. I love the saying “you can say what you think, but you will live what you believe.” If that is true I must believe I am the most important person in the world because I think of myself first all the time. What I want, what I need, how I feel, if I am hot, cold or tired. To use Brian’s word I am very “me-centric.” But this place is breaking me of that, slowly. Simply because I see what these people have and I want it. I want this unity. I want to grab it with both hands but that means letting go of myself first.
This past week has been difficult. Each person in the tribe has been significantly hurt in one way or another. We mess up. We mess each other up. We get hurt and we hurt one another. When one cries, we all cry. So we have been in a constant state of broken hearted-ness for sometime. Through all of this though I am learning the real meaning of love. Mama Kathy says the most beautiful part of this place is that our heart gets killed many times everyday. What strikes me in that statement is the unity in it: Our heart. We are one. We are a community. A community with a commitment to one another. Emory says that love is saying, “here I am cut me open and hurt me.” Love is being honest. Here is my baggage. My past. My messyness. I lay it bare before you to choose to accept or reject. To love or to leave. But my love will not be real if not honest and cannot be honest if not raw. So I must be raw. Be hurt so I can experience true love. I am coming to the conclusion that this amazing brokeness is far more beautiful than any imitation, and maybe, just maybe, worth it all.
“I therefore, a prison for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
bearing with one another in love. Because sometimes thats all we can do, bear with one another. That unity that this passage talks about- I see that here. I see it with you all. Its a unity that says, “Julie I know I hurt you last night and I am so sorry because that is not what I meant to do.” It is when Brian said, “I do not agree with that decision but if you are doing it, than I am going with you.” Its when Emory says, “Go out there and mess up, I have your back, don’t worry. I have got you covered.” Its a simple letter that says, “I love you and I will walk this with you. I am in.”
So that is what I am saying to you all. I see what you have and I want to be part of it. I am in. I will walk this out with you. When you see me pulling away and pulling back call me out on it. Remind me. Because this declaration is permanent. I am in. I remember when I was first invited to be a member of MUCH ministries and Mama Kathy emailed me and said “Welcome to the family. We are a group of messed up, broken people.” Thanks for having me be part of this family.
“There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and one Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)