Finding Courage in Community
All Christians across the planet, all Christians who have come before and all who are to come, are members of the Church Universal. We call this the community of Christ, and our common faith in Jesus, the Son of God, forms an unbreakable bond between us all. Our story has been told for centuries. The faith of those who have come before us strengthens the ways we live as God’s people, helping us to understand who God is, and who God needs us to be. The stories that are highlighted each of the days of Fearless Faith: Courage in Community are foundational to the Christian Community. They stretch back to the moment when God first called us to be community and covenanted to unite us as family forever. They reflect how the community has responded at times that it has been challenged times when it seemed as if it would come to an end, and times when the community was rescued and refreshed by the work of God through the people of God.
These are some of the most epic tales of the Bible, even though they may not be the most famous. All of these stories are key plot points in the biblical narrative of God lovingly at work within the world. Notice how all of these individual stories are part of one epic story about God working through community to bless the world and restore creation to how God intends it. Are you aware of when each story takes place in relation to the others? Can you see how different stories build on some of the others?
In the stories of Abram and Sarai; Esther; and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we see that we are not just called to community but to be a community that is sometimes different from the rest of the world. In other stories, we will see how abundance and trust builds community. In the stories of Joseph and Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, we will see people revealing the loving kindness of God through their actions. In almost every story is the challenge and blessing of living with people who are not like us. In the stories of Cornelius, Peter, Mary Magdalene, and the other disciples, we will discover how this branch of the family came to be the community of Christ how God breathed life into death and pushed the community to be open to God’s goodness and blessing.
If we are called by God to be a community that embodies the love of God, then we will have times when our very identity will be challenged. These stories are about different times when people’s identity has been challenged. In very different ways, every age group of campers will be learning about, experimenting with, and ultimately choosing their identities. Engaging these stories is a great way to encourage campers to experiment intentionally and reflectively.
In all of these stories, we see that living together as a community called by God is not just a means to an end or a basic human need for relationship. Living as God’s people both requires and provides us with courage. When open to these stories they won’t just teach us, they will indeed do something in us. They will inspire us—will call our campers to be the best people they can be in the community of God’s people, and in the world.