Reflections on Faith, Friendship, and Community – the tagline for this blog from the beginning, July 17, 2008.  I’ve been writing in this space for almost five years now, and while my life and this blog have both taken a lot of twists and turns, these ideas – faith, friendship, community – are still at the forefront of my mind.

It’s been said before by better speakers and writers, but we are not meant to live in isolation.  We are created for community.  We may not share the same place in that community – I am an introvert who loves words and music, and maybe you are an extrovert who prefers hiking – but we do share the need to live our lives in the presence of others.

Friendships don’t come easily, and truthfully, there are more days than I care to admit when I would rather just stay in the safety of my home with these people who have to love me.  Meeting new people is risky.  Will they like me?  Will they think I’m okay or a little strange?  Will I fit in or just hold up the wall?

When I started this blog, I was searching for that sense of community.  I wish I could say it happened quickly and painlessly, but it did not.  In time, God has granted me this precious gift – the gift of friends, both in real life and on the Internet.  But it took work – the effort to get out of my shell, meet new people, try new activities, take a few risks.

Even now, I don’t always feel like I fit – that I’m a little different, that others don’t quite share my interests or convictions.  I use those times to remind myself of the segment of our community we are working to reach – those people who live on the fringe.  They don’t always feel like they fit in with us – inside the four walls of the Church.

And we need to change that.

We need to go out of our way to make sure that everyone in our community is welcomed into our church – and that they know it.  This making room for community with those who may be different from us is the way to introduce them to Jesus, the only One who can change their lives.

How about you?  Are you in a season where friendships and community are easy or difficult?  How can you extend that gift of grace to another?

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” Luke 19:5