“Community” to me is like platelets that protect the wound by forming a scab where there is hurt. It gives a chance for everything underneath the skin to replenish and heal from its injury. In contrast to the joy of receiving healing, I’ve often feared the church community for wanting me to heal too quickly from a trauma. I feared that the platelets would smother me with the chant of “Heal! Heal! In Jesus’ name!” without giving me time to heal in my perfect timing… For not understanding, or for assuming that it knows me based on only one dimension of myself that I chose to reveal.
I often asked myself, what is the point of becoming a community member at a church, when there are community groups outside of church that will patiently watch me wrestle with my darkest self? There was actually a catch to that type of outside community. I wasn’t encouraged to move beyond my hurt. Instead, I was encouraged to marinate in hatred and anger, or left to accept that death is just a part of life and so why not, “let’s just live expecting death for the rest of our lives” mindset. I was intrigued by these types of community groups that seemed raw compared to the often shallow “hi’s” and insincere hugs that I had encountered in Christian circles.
On a different note, God says that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). If every good gift is from God, every bad gift is definitely not from God. He does not want me to linger in dark thoughts without producing good gifts from them. But he also does not want me to be in a stagnant place where gifts are just mediocre. God’s gift is a place of growth and prosperity, where I use my hardships or misunderstandings to better understand others.
I’m realizing that the Christian community is not meant to be a place where everyone is expected to be uniform in personality, interests, or struggles. Rather, we are encouraged to be unique with our circumstances, listening to each other, building each other up to turn mediocre gifts into good gifts.
In order to do this, it is Jesus’ love that allows us to embrace people for the greatest of idiosyncrasies and disarm them of that weapon that builds barriers, only if I, the individual, would let community work. The community flourishes because we acknowledge that we are different and embrace each other in the areas of pain, joy, and genuine emotions. We, different, but only bound together by the common purpose that we are lovers of unrelenting love, breastfed by the common source of milk and honey.
But only when I let it. When I don’t let community cover me up with Jesus’ pure blood, I let that pain fester, enough for it to stink and make it repellant for people to shrivel their noses with disgust. I am one of the many rubbles. If every single one of these rubbles could be seen as useful, how far reaching and lifted would our community be?
Community to me is one that encourages uniqueness, not just for uniqueness’ sake. Uniqueness that is not founded on pain but on the common design of Jesus’ love to heal even the most far drifted of souls. Community is everyone’s problem and everyone’s joy. One that cannot be left neglected, or then it would become a fake façade of smiles and hugs. It is not a savior mentality, because that is governed by human conditionality and selectivity. Community is simply a rubble of broken people. Each isolated, each longing, each awkward in its own way, but banded together by the common knowledge that we all want more than our routine lives, a serendipitous unity of the Holy Spirit.