If somebody were to ask me, “why did you join a community?”. The first words popping into my head would probably be “support”, “grow in faith”, “pray together”… and the list goes on. In some ways, I kind of get a subtle sense of brokenness connotations with these words. We are all broken in some sense, and we need support. We know our faith is not perfect and we need each other to grow. We know we don’t pray enough, or that we don’t pray meaningfully enough, so we seek to improve with one another. As time goes by, we heal in little ways and we break again in other ways.
And it’s a painful journey. We hurt and we heal, we hurt and we heal again. And reopened wounds hurt even more. And so sometimes I can understand why people avoid communities. Because it is so painful to face up to our brokenness, share it with others and reopen wounds. Why not just bury it deep and move on? To build up walls and protect ourselves. After all, all I need is a relationship with God. I do good, I avoid evil, I follow the ten commandments and I lead my life.
And this leads me to the image of the transformation of the cocoon into the beautiful butterfly.
When I first saw this image, the first word that came to my mind was ‘closed’ and I felt some negative resistance to it. And I guess that was what it was – the fear to change, the fear to grow, the disbelief that we can be better.
Then again, it was all my silliness talking. Community has of course continuously made me feel uncomfortable and challenged me for things I was never really used to with a past life far from God. For example when I came and saw how prayerful the people were, I felt guilty. There was a lot of resistance towards it because let’s face it – if you never really encountered God in prayer, prayer is really just…speaking to yourself. I had never felt quite adequate to ask God for things and basically I didn’t know how to pray. However, through time, I was inspired by many prayerful individuals in community and felt the wonderful healing touch of group prayer and praying for one another.
“As a community, you guys need to also take time to celebrate”.
These are words by Fr Jude that sticks in my mind. Indeed, being such emotional beings, we tie ourselves with episodes of sadness, worries, anxieties and discouragement. And yet, we forget the triumphant moments when we transcend the obstacles along the way!
And so today we celebrate! We celebrate Fr Jude for forming and bringing us together. We celebrate the growth of our community, we celebrate the 4 months of loving support and growing in faith within our flocks and community. We celebrate for the hope and future of our new flock cycle. We celebrate individuals who stepped up to serve as flock team, shepherds, prayer team, music team, social team, admin team, IT team and folks who served in other ways. Most of all, we celebrate that God has invited us uniquely to be here in Seven Graces to change for the most wonderful and unimaginable plan that He has for each one of us.
I wish I could say that I look forward bravely to the coming changes and emerge better. But I still feel fearful about it. I guess at least with folks like you guys bugging and pushing me along, I feel that perhaps someday I’ll be able to make it =)
God bless all of you!