Someone once told me about a man who spoke up at a rather contentious annual meeting of his congregation. Members were fiercely divided over some issue when this man rose to his feet. Suddenly, he loudly proclaimed, “If I don’t get my way, I threaten to stay!”
It’s a wonderful image of community. After all, we know from Scripture that living with godly respect and love for one another is one of the ways people will recognize us as followers of Christ. Yes, it is difficult. Because we won’t always like each other, but we will always love each other. We will often make mistakes. But Jesus still finds us, even in unexpected places.
John’s Gospel continually reminds us that Jesus promises abundant, full life. Yet living in community can prove to be both a gift and a challenge. The same love Jesus calls us to give also offers us the strength to remain committed to the unity of the Beloved Community, even when it is difficult and even when it is messy.
This message is excerpted from “Beloved community” by Angela T. Khabeb in the March 2019 issue of Gather magazine.
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