October 24, 2021

Community

My Spirit abides among you; do not fear.
Haggai 2:5
Community can be messy. People have different viewpoints. They have different solutions to problems—some of which contradict what a brother or sister wants. Sometimes we simply don't understand what another person is talking about. 
Because of all this, many of us seem to think we can live out our idealized faith in isolation. With nobody to challenge our assumptions, we can rest in the purity of our beliefs. 
And yet, that's not how the church works, nor does it reflect the Spirit's presence in our lives. The promises of God—particularly those regarding the Holy Spirit—are almost always given not to the individual, but to the church. Because of the peculiarities of the modern English language, we don't necessarily see this. The pronouns you and your are both plural and singular, so it's easy to imagine that God is speaking to me alone. 
But the Spirit abides not only in but among us, and it is the church as a whole that may abound in hope by the Spirit's power. I am not left to my own thoughts and beliefs, but I am gifted with others' insights and interpretations. Instead of moving forward alone into the unknown, I go with my community from strength to strength, sharing my own gifts and receiving what others have to offer, that together we might arrive at the destination God intends.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
 Romans 15:13
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Thank you, Lord, that I do not have to be a lone ranger. Thank you for the community of the faithful, in which I am called to faithfully listen to and speak your word.
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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