Community: Connected by Love, Connected to Life
A note from our Editor: Many of our Lovely Commission writers (but not all!) are a part of Sword of the Spirit communities. These are communities of disciples on mission throughout the world. Sharon is a part of one of these communities in the Phillipines. We are so grateful and blessed to be a part of this world wide family of disciples. If you ever want to know more, contact us via email or social media! For this article we wanted to stress the importance of being a part of a faith community. Being surrounded by other Christians helps us personally in our walk with Christ but also allows us to be better equipped to be Christians out in the world, building the kingdom of God. Thank you, Sharon, for sharing your experience of community with us! Mary Rose
I always believe that community is God’s wonderful gift to Christianity. Those of us who have been in community for quite a while would agree of the many blessings that it brings. For others, it is in community that they are able to experience true brotherhood and sisterhood and for some, it is in community that they were brought to a deeper, more personal relationship with God.
For me, though, what makes me enjoy community life more is the fact that I am able to share my encounters with God to others sans the fear of being judged or mocked. I remember back in college, there was one activity in our Filipino class wherein the professor required us to write nonstop about anything. What was spontaneous for me at that time was to write a prayer and so, excitedly I did. My professor selected my work and read what I wrote out loud. He found it funny and started teasing me about it. It was such an embarrassing moment for me and I really thought I was one weird human being!!!
Fortunately for me that year also, I met a group of people in school that helped me start out a journey to a more personal relationship with God. Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA), an outreach of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community to college students, introduced me to a life that is very supportive of my Christian faith. Looking back, I realized that the Lord gave community to me so I could freely share my most intimate thoughts about God to others.
Being connected to God is at the very heart of my community life. When I think about community, it is first and foremost about my relationship with the Lord followed by my relationship with the brothers and sisters. Aside from being able to freely express my love and gratitude to Him through worship, it is in community that I learned to set aside time for prayer every day to be connected with God; to be with the One who loves me the most!
Community also allows me to be with people who love and follow the same God the way I do. We are to be connected to God’s people if we are to become better followers of Christ. I realized that my experience of being a laughing stock way back in college was not helpful or encouraging for someone who desired to follow the Lord. In community, I am with people who understand the language I speak and live out the way of life I want to embrace for myself.
In John 15:5 He says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.” Our community life will only make sense if we are, above all, connected to the Source and Giver of good gifts. I thank God for bringing me to community because it reminds me of His love, a love that brings me to a fuller and more abundant life shared with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sharon Villaflores is a Filipina working for a local bank as an Economist. She is a covenant member of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community and happily serving other young women of her community in their journey with the Lord. She likes to read inspirational books and dreams of becoming God's prolific writer someday.