Community – a word that has been drilled into our heads since we were in kindergarten Sunday School. God created us to be in community with Him and with others. But what does community look like when we’re in lock down? Yes, this is a strange time, but our generation is coping rather well. We’re utilizing technology, social media and the digital world like we always have. We’re connecting with other people on various platforms, and hardly missing a beat.
Sure, we miss seeing our best friend at school, our boyfriend at youth group and of course, our team! It’s frustrating to learn online rather than directly from a teacher. It’s upsetting that we missed prom, graduations are cancelled, and end-of-year performances and games won’t occur.
And we don’t want to overlook the deeper side of being confined: Your parents may be despairing over paying the bills, there may be an increase in family arguments, perhaps drugs and alcohol have become easier to access and a more reliable way to sooth the pain and uncertainty, all the restrictions may make you feel cramped causing a rise in depression, or it’s possible you’ve become a more frequent victim to domestic violence. But, we will survive. Right?
Thriving in Community
Surviving isn’t thriving though, and we were made to flourish in community. As Christians, we use the word fellowship to define community – spending time with one another. Being with people, together, in the same room. Fellowship is about living your life in the midst of other people and sharing life with them. Fellowship can be as simple as hanging out at a coffee shop, as deep as studying God’s Word in a Bible Study, or as common as connecting with people who have a similar interest. That’s the key to fellowship – having something in common.
As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit in common. Jesus is our similar interest. So, even though we aren’t physically connected to one another, we are drawn together by the Spirit. We don’t have to be in the same room to experience deep, meaningful community because the Spirit unites us. We can pray for someone without them even knowing, yet that action creates community. We can study the Bible via a digital platform and that deed creates community. We can support someone in need by dropping toilet paper on their front porch and that achievement creates community. There are no restrictions to what community can look like or how it can be defined when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit.
We are all suffering to some degree during the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether our specific, individual suffering is significant, or small, it is still suffering. We are all going through the same frustration and difficulty. Therefore, our quarantine becomes another commonality that brings us closer to one another in community. Even though we feel like we are pulled away from one another, we actually have a tremendous opportunity to connect through our shared suffering. We don’t have to let down our guard – it’s already down. We don’t have to be vulnerable; everyone is. We won’t be excluded, cast aside or put down, because we all understand. Since we all comprehend this experience, we can more easily embrace one another.
Strength in Suffering
There are numerous scriptures in the Bible that speak of God being our strength in suffering. Our ability to survive during this trying time comes from our hope in the Lord. He will conquer the Coronavirus, He will bring us back together, He will provide our every need. We can praise Him for this victory and share that triumph with people who don’t know Him.
Hope is a blessing that many people don’t have at this time, so look to the Lord for your strength and offer some hope to those who are lacking. Perhaps the Spirit is calling them closer to Him. And, when your hope starts to diminish, know that the Spirit will give you the strength to make it through. He’s drawing you nearer to Him by connecting you to your community. Don’t be afraid to go to the people you love for support by being a member of God’s community.