Today I worked in the nursery at my church. I haven’t worked in the nursery like this in over 15 years. It was peaceful and fulfilling to rock, play, and coo at little ones who are just learning about their world. My fellow workers and I commented on the personalities that were emerging and the future careers of some of our charges.
Our little ones were content as they played with and chewed on the different toys. Their world consisted of the laps they sat in or the mats they lay on, fully trusting those who watched over them.
In the early days of the New Testament Jesus walked the dusty roads with a band of men and women who wanted to learn about this “new worldview” that He was offering to them. Each night they would gather around the fires discussing their experiences, sharing stories, asking for insight and finding refuge in their new community.
I have noticed throughout my life and Faith journey that the moments when I have felt the most rich, the most safe, and the most content were when I was gathered together with those who were dear to me. It could be family members, it could be dear treasured friends, it could be in small groups. Whatever it was, I found myself wishing to absorb the feeling, the laughter, and the experience so I could pull it out like a love letter to read over and over again when I was apart from the circle.
God designed us to be in community. To recognize those who mattered to us by the way they walked from far away. To know their laugh before you saw their face. God knew we were made for community because He designed us to a part of His community. We were made to belong.
I wonder if Abraham had the slightest idea of the community that would come from God’s amazing promise in Genesis 48:4, “ ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’” Could he have even conceived of the depth of lives that would be blessed, changed, or challenged by this community?
I admit that our move has taken away my “comfort circle.” I miss seeing faces in the halls at work or at church and knowing them by name. I miss knowing I can flop on a friend’s couch for hours and not have to work at making small talk. I also know that God has called me to the community I have now. New faces are a new opportunity to create new memories, new stories, and new experiences. In the meantime, I am going to rest in the Comfort of the Circle of believers I am blessed with each day.