Today’s CliffNotes is by Claire Ratliff, Small Group Pastor.
No One Stands Alone.
This phrase we hold so dear at Christ Church has always carried with it a certain strength. Our community is knit together by its stubborn insistence that whatever we face, we face together. This commitment to one another is costly. The temptation to turn inward and attend only to our own wounds and burdens can be strong also, especially when trouble abounds. And yet, Jesus shows us another way.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15:12-13) This is a high command, one that Jesus himself fulfills in his death but also in his life. Dying to oneself and considering others better than oneself is a daily, even moment-to-moment task. But in doing this, we need not ignore our own troubles as if they don’t exist. In The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen puts it this way: “Community arises where the sharing of pain takes place, not as a stifling form of self-complaint, but as a recognition of God’s saving promises.” The call to Christian community is one of self-denial, but also self-sharing, because in the sharing of our pain (and joy) we say to each other, “I need you.” We realize our holy interdependence and are reminded that God never leaves us nor forsakes us.
You, Christ Church, excel at this sacrificial community and are defined by your transformative togetherness. No one stands alone. We stand together! And Christ Himself stands with us—infusing us with strength and love by his Spirit.
At the core of our transformative togetherness are small groups. Small groups are where pain and joy are shared, friendships are formed, and Christ’s call to love sacrificially is lived out. In small groups we embody what it means to be the church.
This fall, we will kick off small groups on Sunday, August 30th with a Small Group Open House! Right after the worship service, you’ll have an opportunity to hop on a Zoom call, learn about our small groups, get to know some of our leaders, and connect with others who are also seeking community. Small groups are especially vital in this season of increased aloneness, so I encourage you to come spend a few minutes before lunch in faith and fellowship with others! Learn about and register for the Small Group Open House here.
Christ’s peace to you, Christ Church!