Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Two Trees

March 26, 2007

Here’s my C.S. Lewis quote for the day:

Human beings are not [separate]. They look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then, we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different….

If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, it would not look like a lot of separate things dotted about. It would look like one single growing thing–rather like a very complicated tree…

Once again, I thought this occurred to me on my own. Then I went and picked up my copy of Mere Christianity and realized that Lewis wrote about it long before I ever thought of it. Come to think of it, I’m sure read it there first, then thought that it was my idea. Nothing new under the sun.

It’s true, though. There are in fact two trees growing around us today. One of them is rotting. The other has healing in its leaves.


Two humanities growing side by side, even intertwining, like two vines growing together. At times they seem like the same tree. But they are very different from one another. One produces death and one produces life. Sounds like a story we learned once, doesn’t it?

If we could interview the leaves of these trees and ask them, “How do you make your fruit?” They would reply that they don’t know. They don’t have a method. There are no classes that teach them how to be what they are. All they do is just remain in the vine. Just being a part of their respective trees makes them do what they do.

Remain in me, and you will bear much fruit.

I don’t know for sure what it looks like to remain in Him. But in practical terms, I’ve got a notion that it has to do with being in the Church. I don’t mean that just being there finishes the job. There’s more to it. There’s a conscious practice of attending to His presence in our lives. But even that works better when surrounded by others of the same stock. Remaining in Him must have something to do with making the Church your home. It is Him.

I need the Church.

A New Kind of Family

September 19, 2005

Early this morning, a new life was born into the world. Her name is Lilyann and she’s a beautiful little girl. I know a lot of little girls were born this morning all over the world, but this one has an advantage over so many others. She was born into a family with roots deeper than you can see.

You see, her parents live amidst a group of people who have been brought together by a common relationship to God. These men and women already had families which are scattered all over the continent; but the family they’re a part of now is something more. Little Lilyann doesn’t know it yet, but she’s one of the luckiest children in the world. Let me illustrate by walking you through the events surrounding her birth.

All weekend, while her mother and father were busy distracting themeselves from the never ending wait for this little girl’s arrival, a sister in her church(we’ll call her sister number one) was keeping her schedule clear so that she could rush to the side of the mother when that long-awaited moment arrived. The mother wanted a home birth, so this sister knew that she could be right in the middle of the action to encourage and attend to her needs.

The mother’s water broke at 10:30pm last night. She told sister number one that it would be a while before she was needed, so she should get some sleep. FAT CHANCE of that! In fact, she tried to get to sleep but it just wasn’t happening. She walked over to the mother’s house (just a few doors down) and stayed with her all the way through the birth, which happened at 3:40am this morning. The sister called us with the news at about 7:00am. Within minutes the whole church knew (that’s about 30 people in our group).

Because sister #1 was busy helping the mother with her new baby, her own children missed the bus for school. No problem. Four doors down there was another family ready to take up the slack, and the husband in that house loaded up the children and drove them to school for her. Now the fun really begins!

Two more doors down is another family poised and ready to help out with the events of the day. Sister number two from that house goes over to stay with the new mother while sister number three (from my house) takes the toddler that belongs to sister number one along with our own toddler to the store. Sister number two stays with the new mother while the new father goes to pick up his mother from the airport (note that she has to fly to get here). Halfway through the day, there will be another shuffling of the children, and honestly I forget which children will be with whom by 3:00pm this afternoon.

All I know is that little Lilyann has been born into a community. This community runs deeper than flesh and bone. Lilyann has entered into a child’s wonderland, surrounded by, not only two parents who love her dearly (who are themselves loved dearly by a dozen households), but also by about a dozen children who all live within a few houses of one another. This little girl will have at least a dozen brothers and sisters running in and out of her house over the next 18 years of her life, providing her with a community and an identity which will stick with her for life.

She will be surrounded by people who turn to the Lord for their every need, and who honor his name wherever they go. They will care for her, pray for her, feed her, house her from time to time–everything a family does. So many people to love her. Yeah, I’d say she’s a lucky little girl.