If you’ve read the blog or followed my Facebook Page (Abigail Joy Dubbe), you’ve probably heard me mention Write Brilliant Academy, which is the course I’m involved in. During the #thankfultoday series, several of my classmates will be guest posting. Today I’d like to welcome Shanna Goodnight! You can find her blog at http://www.shannagoodnight.com/.
Shanna is a pastor’s wife living in Deep East Texas among the tall pines. With two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree under her belt, Shanna strives to use her writing to encourage and inspire others to reach greater heights with God. Enjoy her beautiful post!
Today I’m thankful for community
This past weekend my husband and I attended a funeral. Sometimes a funeral can be the celebration of a life lived and include stories by friends and family of the antics over many years of the deceased. Not so this weekend. Stories were told but tears continually fell as people mourned the loss of a sweet 17 year old girl. Clouds of tragedy hung over her remaining family. But in this sorrow-filled chapel something glorious happened: community.
No church is perfect because it is peopled by imperfection, but there are times when they get it so very right, and I was privileged to witness it! Stepping back from my own grief, I watched as people from our church surrounded this sweet family and loved them in various ways: food, comfort, companionship, and even knowing when to leave the grievers alone. The display of community was glorious! The church showing love and support in every way it could.
Even my husband, pastor of our church, found himself wrapped in someone’s arms after he gave a tear-filled message reminding those in attendance of the hope we have in Christ. We all grieved together, celebrated her short life together, supported her family together, and turned our hearts towards the hope we know we will see her again. Only God can mend our broken hearts but the church can certainly be a bandaid while the healing process takes place. The church can protect those families and individuals who are hurting and give them room to heal while making sure other needs are met.
God Himself is a community, three in one. We are made in His image and therefore made for community. We need each other. Not just in times of pain and sorrow, but in the good times. The ever-eloquent John Donne reminds us:
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less…”
Going into the rest of this week and into this Thanksgiving season, I’m thankful for the beautiful, imperfect community of faith that God has given us. It’s a messy life we have here on earth, but with a loving community and the grace of our Lord, we can live our messes together in love.