Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Interdependent Community by Cheryl Laurenza

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Interdependent Community 

By Cheryl Laurenza

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement), Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) AMP 

I was recently in Europe, and the U.K. Aside from it being an incredible experience, there are a few thoughts that I pondered that I believe have some spiritual applications for us. 

We, in this nation, are fundamentally rugged individualists. This is a good thing in many ways and is one of the attributes that has helped to make our country great. However, it also has a dark side. We need each other. We were not designed to live as loners or in a self-sufficient manner, not independent but interdependent. It is about the collective good of the body, the community, not just what "works for me."  Whether it is in marriage, parenting, friendships, Church, etc., we are given the example of this interdependence over and over in scripture of the connection the early believers had. Whether it was meeting in homes daily to "break bread" or collecting property to sell so as to help meet needs as they became aware of them with each other. This was not about the ministry to those "outside" which they did also, but to their own members. How can I enter into someone's aloneness or be vulnerable enough to share my needs or hurts? 

How am I living in community? What do I bring to my community as far as myself?  Am I a taker only and if so, is it because I am afraid of my needs not being met so I take? What if I start to engage my community in giving and maybe even harder, receiving? I need to break free of this self-protective and individualistic worldview for one more reflective of what Jesus modeled.  Finding a safe, healthy community that demonstrates these qualities is a first step.  Praying for this leading in all our lives.

Cheryl Laurenza, MA, LPC, NCC

The Refuge Counseling Center
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