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a little thing called community

March 7, 2011

This is the tale of our escapades in Hamilton, NZ. Hamilton itself is a beautiful city with a big university and great shops, restaurants, museums and the like. The city boasts many tourist hotspots, and the surrounding countryside known as the Waikato is breath-taking! We have fallen in love with this region of New Zealand, and though the aforementioned features are sensational, they are not the primary influencer of this affection. Neither is its name, though I have to admit a few displays of familial pride have occurred. The “indescribable quality” that has endeared this area to our hearts is COMMUNITY.

 

Our first night here in Hamilton we helped our host entertain a family of five for the evening. We had a lovely dinner, enjoying what my mother so lovingly refers to as “convivium”, then had intriguing conversation well into the night while the children played Monopoly.

-Justin and I were inspired and later played a four day long game of Monopoly, which Justin won, despite my surety of winningness 😛

Within in the next 24 hours we’d met several of our host’s friends, attended a potluck, and received a dinner invitation for the following night.  Needless to say, within a few days we felt more welcomed and loved then most people do in most places in most seasons of life. This inspired me.

 

We have met many people during our travels, many of other faiths, of no faith, and some who are adamantly opposed only to the Christian faith. As we began to know them and learn what experiences led to these misgivings about Christians, and compared them to our own, it became so clear as to why so many people, “Christians” and otherwise, are in the dark.

 

It seems that somewhere along the course of time, those who claim to follow Christ have lost sight of what their faith-when fully realized and lived out-could look like. We’ve gotten caught up in western civilization and the American “lifestyle”, where having the dream, fitting in, and maintaing the status quo are the ideals. I know many “christians”-and have been guilty of doing this myself- that strive so hard to make Christianity accessible. They seem convinced that the best way to influence or persuade others into Christianity is by minimizing the impact that the faith has on one’s day-to-day life so that Christianity and those who follow it appear “normal”.

 

A word on Christian community. If you read the Bible, Christianity was never about always attending church, striving to be good or living a normal life. It was RADICAL!! And it isn’t based on rules it’s based on LOVE! As I’ve been meditating on the things I’ve read in the Bible recently, I was lead to the book of Acts. Acts depicts the early church-and of significance to this post-tells about the coming of the Holy Spirit. There are two tellings in this book that resonate strongly with me. In Acts chapter 2, after the Holy Spirit is received by the believers-what I would consider to be Christianity, fully realized- the very next thing discussed is the way those who believed in Christ lived. They lived as one body, “had all things in common”, and shared evenly and fairly everything they had. Again in chapter 4, after praying for boldness the believers are filled with the Holy Spirit and the whole place they were gathered in shook. The very next sentence tells of how the believers were “of one heart and soul, and no one claimed ownership of any possessions, but held all in common”.

 

We have had such an eye-opening experience here as to what our lives can look like-loving, living, and giving generously. What I’m trying to communicate is this- it all comes down to love. We don’t have to live a life based on rules, we don’t have to have it all together, we just have to love, and when we do, a beautiful community can develop all around us!

 

love,

a & j

ps- we CANNOT wait to be in community with all those we’ve missed! Looking forward to seeing everyone again 🙂

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2011 8:53 pm

    You are soo cute. I wanna grow lavender and pumpkins!

  2. Jessica permalink
    March 13, 2011 10:16 am

    1. you are the cutest person in all the land.
    2. i’m a big fan of sweet little Hamilton town.
    3. i like this house.
    4. such a good article! i love that we can be on different sides of the world and be learning the same things at the same time! mmm…mmm…community!!

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