Over the past week I witnessed and heard of genuine community in action. And while this happens all the time within the fellowship of CPC, the examples I'm sharing here are not in reference to our own church family.
The first involves a new friend I've made over the past few months in some of my evangelism work. He's an outstanding musician who plays all over the B'ham area and is a fixture at the Moody Blue Bar here in Moody on Thursday nights. Up until about 4 years ago this friend was a church staff person who had served in several large B'ham area churches. Now he has his own band and also regularly plays without his band in Moody, Tuscaloosa, Jasper, and other such places. A week or so before this past Christmas he was involved in a serious accident, sustaining major injuries to his right leg and hip. He's had 3-4 surgeries already and will have more. In speaking with him this past week he mentioned that during his time of surgeries and recovery no one from any of the churches he's served at in the past came to visit him or offered to help with his finances ... rather only his friends from various bars and clubs where he's a regular. He felt genuinely loved and cared for by his community of friends.
And then, just this past Monday evening when that freakish wind blew so quickly through here with its rain and hail, I witnessed another display of community in action. As I left the house to run an errand just a few minutes after the storm passed, I had to stop on James Taylor Road because of a tree that had fallen across it. I saw a man there working to remove it with a chain saw, and before I could get out of my car and walk over to help another guy rolled up on his 4-wheeler with an additional chain saw. So as they were cutting the tree into moveable pieces a couple of others joined us in the clean-up. There wasn't a lot said to one another, just work quickly getting done. I didn't hear anyone fuss or complain as to why the City of Moody hadn't already come to move the tree (isn't it their job?), nobody was angered because they were getting dirty (nobody was properly dressed for such work), none were questioning why they had to do it ... everyone just did what needed to get done. And right on schedule as we finished up the job (which, btw, went remarkably quick with folks working together) here comes a Moody firetruck to take care of the problem. Since the problem had already been taken care of, the firetruck driver simply rolled past and gave a "thumbs up" sign to those who were working. Everyone nodded back in return, hopped in our cars and trucks, and went on about our business. It was a beautiful display of neighbors just working together in community to meet a need.
Again, this kind of stuff does indeed happen here at Community Presbyterian Church. But the question we have to ask is whether or not we are faithful and consistent with this practice of "community." Do we do it at our convenience, for our own "righteousness" sake, just to make us feel good about ourselves? Keep in mind, we don't get to decide when a friend is in an accident, when a tree falls across the road, when a fellow believer suffers heartache, when our brother or sister has a particular need, when a friend is wrestling with a sin issue, etc. Life just comes at us really fast and we must be ready to face it together. We're not designed to handle all this mess by ourselves ... we desperately need community, the fellowship of the saints, the encouragement and support of brothers and sisters in Christ, the accountability of spiritual authority, and others to constantly speak the Gospel to our hearts. Are you doing that with others? Are you in "community" here at Community? Not only do you need it, there are many others who need you!!!