Community in Christ

This past Sunday, we started teaching a new curriculum in our ladies’ Sunday school class.

We made the move to be on the same plan with the same Scripture passages as the rest of the church, following a curriculum that will have us going through the entire Bible every three years. I was so excited about getting onboard with the rest of the church and jumped right into the book of Proverbs and the topic on hand for the week.

That topic?   Sexual purity. Yes, I was introducing a new curriculum, and the first thing it addressed was sex.  Awesome.  Our Sunday school class is comprised of a group of women who’ve been married 30, 40, 50+ years, and they spent a good portion of the discussion giggling like junior high girls.   I can only imagine how much more hilarity would have ensued had I drawn from personal experience and supplemented the teaching with, “Well, let me tell you about the pastor…”  (Oh, and he, ever the helpful theologian, gave me several wonderful and inappropriate quotes that I could have used regarding his feelings about “the wife of his youth” and the “waters of his cistern.”  If he keeps this up, he’ll find himself on schedule to be our guest speaker when we cover Song of Solomon in the weeks ahead.)

Our discussion did (thankfully) move beyond a discussion of sex to the broader topic of marriage, of how marriage is so flippantly regarded in our culture today, and how Scripture addresses and defines marriage.  As someone who has only been married for a decade, I bring very little to the table.  My insights are limited because of my inexperience, and though Scripture is the final authority and gives us all the wisdom that we need for all of life… well, sometimes it’s helpful to have others around you as you study it, especially others who have deeper, richer life experiences who can speak to the truth of what Scripture teaches.

This is one of many reasons that I LOVE our church.  We are truly multi-generational, and in a class where we’re discussing something like this, we have woman after woman with different life experiences, with different personalities, with different perspectives, all with the same Christ.  I can hear about marriage from a woman who met her husband when she was just barely a teenager and can hear her affirm Scripture’s teaching on the subject.  I can hear about faithfulness from a woman who has been through divorce and can hear her affirm Scripture’s teaching on the subject.  I can hear about moral purity from a woman who is single and can hear her affirm Scripture’s teaching on the subject.  I can hear about parenting from those who have children walking with the Lord, from those who are praying for their children to return to Him, from those who have been where I’m at… and Scripture comes alive in community of many generations.  It’s amazing!

This past week at our conference, we had the opportunity to hear from smaller session speakers, and I chose to go to a session on “Life Balance.”  I was pretty sure I would come away with some good guidelines on how to prioritize and organize my time.  I was disappointed to find that the speaker, while entertaining and very sweet, had been married for two years, had no children, and proudly proclaimed that she spends fifty percent of her life away from home traveling for her career.  Her advice to those of us who had “lost ourselves in being wives and mothers”?  That we should reacquaint ourselves with who we had been before and take some serious “me time” to make sure we didn’t lose it.  If her point had been about finding our identity in Christ and not our roles, I could’ve agreed with that.  But it was more about not losing our hobbies, our interests, our sense of self, amidst all that had changed in our lives as we had transitioned from one season to the next.

I was so discouraged by this.  As all around the room, other men and women were nodding and taking meticulous notes, I wondered at how we were all listening to the advice of someone who was our contemporary, who didn’t yet have the gift of experience and the perspective that time gives, and we were heralding her words as godly wisdom.  Scripture calls us to become one with our spouses, and I think that involves a certain transformation of who we were.  And when kids enter the picture and “me time” becomes a weekend spent away from them, CRYING because we miss them?  Yeah, God obviously changes us so that we very seriously have lost then rediscovered ourselves in who He has made us to be.

As I sat there, feeling very worthless because someone who hasn’t been where I am had said that I’d missed the mark by “losing myself” in what God had given me to do, I thought about my community back home, full of women whose wisdom could affirm what Scripture teaches.  Yeah, you lose yourself because you won’t be who you were before you married and had children.  And, yeah, “me time” will never be the same, because the very same people that distract you from yourself have BECOME part of you.  You aren’t you without them, because they’re so much of who you are.

I think as we herald community in our younger church circles, we unintentionally shun wisdom.  I think as we push and struggle towards reaching younger people and making our churches as young and hip and cool as possible, we forget that community in Christ is rich because it’s multi-generational.  I think back to the story of Rehoboam, who had the opportunity to lead as his father led, how he despised the wisdom of those who had walked with his father in leadership, and how he turned to a community made up of only his peers.  They had such bad advice, and because he was young and stupid himself, he took it.  And a nation was destroyed as a result.  What a mess!

I’m challenged to remember what community in Christ really looks like and to pursue those opportunities that will call me to live life with those who are ahead of me on the road of faith, not just those who are beside me and behind me.

2 thoughts on “Community in Christ

  1. Christy says:

    Amen!!!!! I have a friend who does not seem to understand this at all. She says I'm different now- like it's a bad thing that having a child and another on the way has changed me. She couldn't understand why I'd want to spend the day on MY birthday picking out party supplies for my daughter's birthday. Or why I'd want to work on craft projects for my kids instead of making something for myself. Because you hit the nail on the head- God changes us to be who we need to be in the stage of life He has placed us in. What a sad world it would be if all moms weren't absorbed in their kids' lives and activities. I daresay our society would fall apart- because isn't it our moms who encourage us to be all we can be and do our best? And what of those men who are fathers? How much harder is it for them to be a good father when they don't have the support of a loving wife? God made a family unit, and a church unit, to have variety and to have strengths and weaknesses for a reason- so that we learn to rely on each other and on HIM- we can't do anything on our own power. By design. Sounds like your speaker is one day going to get a hard dose of reality…


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