What is a church community? A cheer-leading squad to celebrate with us in joyful times. A safe place to ask hard questions. Marchers alongside us as we go out and build justice in our community. And loving arms to hold us up in hard times.
We witnessed this last one when seven-year old Nicole Miller was kicked in the head by a horse and received neurosurgery while her family was on vacation in the Midwest. What did our community do to help them through this difficult time? A crew of strong people filled their house to move furniture, mow the lawn, and prepare their house for a previously-planned renovations project. A crew of talented cooks filled their bellies with delicious meals. And a crew of loving and generous caretakers amused Nicole for a half day or more when she needed time to rest, allowing her parents to get back to work.
From Kristi Miller, “You are all the most amazing people. I love you so much with all my heart and though I hope you never NEED help, I look forward to that moment when one of you does, because I will be there!”
And just in case you are wondering if it’s “just you” who needs a faith community, here’s what T. M. Luhrmann said in a 2013 New York Times op-ed piece:
“A study conducted in North Carolina found that frequent churchgoers had larger social networks, with more contact with, more affection for, and more kinds of social support from those people than their unchurched counterparts. And we know that social support is directly tied to better health.”
So, best of health to you!