God calls His people to gather together into communities. I am convinced that this is a reflection of God’s own triune nature – that is, God is eternally in community with Himself. Thus, when He creates Adam, God’s remark “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18) indicates He intends His human creatures to be in community as well. When God creates Eve, He creates the first human community. God has gathered His people in communities ever since.
Trinity Lutheran Church is one such community, a community of believers joined together in Jesus and gathered together around a joint confession of the faith that we have received from the Word of God and the saints who have come before us. In 2023, our congregation will celebrate 150 years of being such a community – a very exciting milestone!
There are numerous benefits for us when we are in community with others. The community of fellow believers can help strengthen us when we are at our weaker times. Fellow believers give us like-minded individuals with whom we can discuss matters that are unclear or challenges we face in daily life. The congregational community gives us others who will rejoice with us in our joys and grieve with us in our sorrows. The bonds of community keep us regularly attending the divine service, where God gives us blessing upon blessing, because we know our absence will be felt and our presence missed. We then are a blessing to others when we are part of the community of faith, because we serve these same roles for them.
The pandemic has demonstrated many things, but one of them is that we are people wired to crave community. Yet we often go looking for it in less than helpful places. At the same time, many of those “community” activities that take place within the church, which give us strong and supportive connections with our brothers and sisters in Christ, were “paused.”
While we can and should still pay attention to matters of our physical health, I think this new year provides us with new opportunities to re-invest ourselves in our congregational community. In December, we held the first of what are planned to be monthly potluck meals. The next one of these is scheduled for January 23 following the scheduled voters meeting. These are opportunities for our whole congregation to gather over a meal and share time in fellowship with one another. Maybe you can get to know someone new, or someone better!
I observe some of our older members and see those connections that have grown over many years together. I’d love to see that develop among the younger adults and families of the congregation as well. Yet often we find ourselves so busy that it is difficult to develop those friendships. We crave good, strong, godly communities for our families, but aren’t always able to locate them. We’re going to try one more new thing in the new year. We’re going to have a “Friends, Fellowship, and Fun” Night aimed at young adults and families. On Friday, January 28, we will share a meal together beginning at 5:30. Then following the meal, there will be open gym time for the kids (by late January, they may need an open space to run around) and a variety of social activities for the adults. The goal of all this is to build community. This evening of “friends, fellowship, and fun” is open also to those who are not members of our congregation but could use the blessings of community in Christ. So invite your friends who might want to get to know us here at Trinity a little better.
So young adults and families, put that date on your calendar. Encourage one another to come. And for all of us, in this new year, continue to be blessed by the congregational community we have here at Trinity.
Peace in Christ,