Together With All The Saints
Written by Abi Olson
Being in community is such a costly decision, and by community, I do not mean going to church on Sundays. I mean really doing life with other believers - living with authenticity, transparency, and humility, being vulnerable enough to let them see the messes of my life and my process of overcoming weaknesses, dismantling strongholds, healing wounds. It has taken a great deal of courage to step out of fear and shame in order to be real, to live without hiding my past or current struggles. Yet, it was when I was in community when God healed me and freed me from my greatest strongholds, it is within community where God restores my strength again and again so I can keep fighting the fight of faith.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lords people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
This has been a favourite passage for a few years now. A few years ago, God pointed out the phrase “together with all the saints/the Lords people” and I have never seen community in the same way again. Paul said that in order to grasp the width and length and height and depth of the love of Christ, I need supernatural power, and not only that, I need community.
I know community with other believers is costly. While we are all in the process of becoming like Jesus, we will cause each other pain and heartache. Yet if being in community means that I will be able to discover another level of height AND depth AND width AND length to the love of God then I say it is all worth it.
Today at church, I had an internal wrestle to sing one of the songs our worship leader was leading the church to sing. It was costly to sing the song, it meant surrender, it meant losing control. I wanted to weep in despair, I wanted to give up the struggle. Yet I looked around me and I saw my beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ, steadfastly loving the Lord through the trials they are experiencing, through uncertainty, through suffering, and I felt an internal strength rise up from within my gut. I found myself saying, “I can do this, I can sing this song because I am not alone in this journey”.
Have you ever felt the love of God tangibly? There are many ways I experience the love of God. He speaks to me through the Bible, through pictures and words during my quiet time, through songs from the radio. But today I tangibly felt his love through hugs from my spiritual moms who checked in on me and asked me how I was REALLY doing. Today I audibly heard God say he was proud of me as a sister prayed for me and reminded me that I was a worship warrior and that I will trample the enemy under my feet. I felt the love of God as a father, when one of our elders (one that I’ve claimed as my spiritual grandpa) blessed me and reminded me that I - and my little family - am a gift to our church.
Aside from the gift of salvation, for me community is the next best gift from God. Can we as a body of believers enjoy this gift more fully? Can we make community safer, more welcoming and less scary for people who are wanting to take that big step to live authentically within our midst? Can we also start seeking to simply live with each other? It does not have to be complicated but it will require honesty, courage and boldness. Lets allow each other in into the not so pretty, not so put together parts of our lives. Lets start contending for each other’s breakthroughs.
Maybe we have to start with actually meeting together.
Friend, what does community mean to you in this season of life? Does it mean coffee with a trusted friend/mentor? Does it mean joining a life group? Does it mean joining a church? Does it mean having a mama group, women’s Bible study, men’s group, etc? Whatever or wherever God is leading you during this season, He is not meaning for you to do this journey alone. Enjoy the gift of community!