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A Peculiar Partnership

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What a season it has been...from the government implementing mandates to only have a certain number of people in our homes or backyards, but now allowing us to gather in person again! Does it feel a bit strange to have people "so close" to you? Are you a bit tentative to go in for a hug? I've shared the awkward fist bump with a few people lately, when they were gladly ready for a hardy firm handshake. 

This season has dramatically changed the way we interact, yet I am struck by our desparate need to connect and be known by others. It has become far too easy to sit at home and watch another streamed show, or simply scroll through social media and feel like I'm in touch with others...yet there is much lacking. 

Back in 2017 the Vancouver Foundation conducted a survey about loneliness & isolation among residents of Vancouver. Even though some of the results were quite encouraging (ie. 8 out of 10 residents knows at least one neighbour well enough to ask for help), but what sticks out is that about 14% say they often feel lonely. The full report can be read here. This report is from 2017, but now I can only imagine how much higher the results around loneliness because of the pandemic actually are! 

Now amidst this bleak season, the invitation by Jesus and the church comes a clear solution - join with one another because of Christ!  Yes, Jesus invites those who believe (& those who are searching for belonging & community) to connect with one another. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, "Life Together" shares this thought about the importance of close, caring, Christian community - “Therefore the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s word to him.  He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain & discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation.  He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ.  The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is unsure.”  This is a pretty blunt statement around the reality that we need friends who know us deeply AND can (& will) speak the word of Christ into our hearts when we are feeling weak, confused and doubting where God is in this world. 

This fall, CityLights has started Learning Communities, where we can join with others to learn AND find a deep meaningful community. These 6-7 week groups are focussed on some specific keys to growing in our relationship with Jesus, but also will be followed up with a desire to be known and practically care for each other. Will you be interested to join the journney of community & growth? Do you sense the call to care for others and where they are at, so they thrive and grow in Christ also? There's still time to sign up.