The Blessing of Community
August is a month of joy as people gather together to celebrate community with Rally in the Valley and prepare for the school year ahead. What is your favorite memory or joy of this month of celebration and preparation? For a number of years, our sons have always looked forward to the parade and the kiddie tractor pull. For many, the fireman's competition brings forth a cheer. Others love the food, especially the whopper feed, the car show, hot wings contest, dance, or the 5k or 1k run. For still others, the anticipation of chopping season and the classroom floods the mind.
Any and all of these events gather people of our community together to celebrate and give thanks for what we have been given. We have countless things to give thanks for: a strong church community, a bustling economy, quality education, healthcare, and volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and skills. We have a lot to praise God for in our community!
Community, as one person recently put it, "is a place where all kinds of people who may not be natural friends, work to grow together to overcome differences and provide opportunities for all." How true that statement is.
Having a community is important in every town and city, as well as the church. Community is especially needed in the church because we serve a Lord who is triune. Our God is one and yet three existing in community. Community is what the Lord has always sought for his people to enjoy with one another and himself.
Our Lord desired community with us to such a degree that he bought us, with the blood of Jesus from sin and death, that we would have a complete relationship with God and one another. That we would in other words have "community".
The Lord did this even though we were his enemies. God sought to make us his friends that we would love the Father through the work of the Son, and from that love, love one another. Even though we are all different people, even though we all have different jobs, even though we might not always agree on everything, we are called through Christ to be part of a community of faith.
From this community, we interact in the broader community serving Christ in a manner worthy of the calling that we have received in order that we would encourage, sharpen, salt, and shine on one another, with and for the glory of Christ.
So, celebrate Rally in the Valley this year! Take in the sights! Enjoy the festivities before the fieldwork and classroom tasks begin. Make some new friends, rekindle old ones; give thanks for our community of faith at First; give thanks for our community of Rock Valley; and give God thanks for the blessings that abound here!