What is community? Is it family, friends, neighbors, religious community, your spouse, and/or the church? My understanding of community has changed through my understanding of my relationship with God.
We are all connected by the love of God in us. Naturally we want to share that love with and receive that love from others. The danger is placing too much emphasis on that one earthly relationship and forgetting our relationship with the giver of relationships. Relationships are meant for support on the journey. Henri Nouwen in his book Spiritual Direction says, “If we want other people to give us something that only God can give, we are guilty of idolatry.” Those seem like strong words but I have found this to be true. Maybe some of you have too. We can let our relationships on earth take precedence over our relationship with God. It becomes evident when we start to put more stock in what others offer to us as advice than we do in our prayer time with God, or when someone subtly pulls away from us for being too clingy.
Jesus said, (Mark 12: 30-31) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
St. Angela said, “Your first refuge must always be at the foot of Jesus.”
Our friendship with Jesus comes first. Friendship is a wonderful gift from God. Friendships and relationships of all types are like a mosaic. Which takes me to this week’s sticky note:
All our relationships start with our relationship with Jesus. Spending time getting to know him better allows us to be better friends to those with whom we spend our time outside of prayer. As my relationship with Jesus strengthens I find it interesting how I can see the many colors of my friendships that reflect the love of God. It only makes me want to know God more.