Now comes the hard one. We’ve been building to it.
Loving your community. That’s your neighbours, your co-workers, the man experiencing homelessness you pass every day. This is the hard one but in all honesty probably the most important. This is the one we’re called to. This is the space to which Jesus teaching should take us to. This is the great commission.
We will spend a LOT of time in this space.
To step back for a moment, I don’t think this is new. We know who Jesus hung out with. We know who he’s called us to connect with. That said, this is the space we so often struggle in. This is the space we make excuses in. This is the space we wish we knew HOW to do.
As we do here, a story.
Sarah and I wanted to be more involved in our community. We actually sat in our living room and said ‘so what exactly do we do?’. Sure we wanted to love people and get involved but HOW do we do it?
We decided on a community party. We’d go door to door and personally invite all our neighbours to come to a neighbourhood party. We’d have all the food, all the drinks, everything. All they would need to do is come.
To be honest we were worried.
One, going door to door makes me feel outrageously uncomfortable. But we thought it need to be personal and not just a letter in their door if we could. So we did it. I felt super uncomfortable the entire time but we did it.
Two, I was worried that everyone would think there was some ulterior motive. And not just some ‘thanks everyone for coming. If it’s ok I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about an investment opportunity…’ type ulterior motive.
No I was worried people would think ‘I think that’s that Christian couple. I bet they’re going to try and convert us or tell us we have to go to church or that we’re bad people or something. You know bait us in with free beer then tell us we’re all sinners going to hell for drinking the beer.’
I don’t know if it sounds ridiculous to you but I was honestly worried.
I was worried because the church has really screwed this one up. People are projects not people. People are a means to an end, a gold start for saving a soul. I was worried people wouldn’t believe that we honestly just wanted to get to know them.
I was worried that people wouldn’t believe that for Sarah and I they are our end. Getting to know them, building an honest, real relationship was our goal. Not to convert them or tell them how they should be living but to just get to know them enough that we could start actually loving them.
So the day came and despite it raining we had a good turnout. It was good enough that we did it again at Christmas. Was a super awkward start?
But we met new people, shared some drinks, laughs, stories and had a ton of fun!
Yes this compassion in community is big and there’s a lot more to see but it looks like action. It looks like love. The life of compassion in relation to our community is us in relationship with our community. Not set apart but embedded in. Not distant but close. Not judgement but love and grace.
We get into the messiness of our community, our neighbour, co-workers and the man experiencing homelessness on the street. We do it because we’re disciples. We do it because we want to love everyone like Jesus loves us, as we are because we are. Not a project to be fixed or some goal to be accomplished but a person to be loved just as they are with no expectations of anything in return or any change from them.
We do it because that’s our call and our commission.
We do it because we are striving to live a life of compassion.