[Today’s article was written by Brittany Joyner, member of the CVCC Vision Committee]
Our rejuvenated vision for CVCC is a call to action. An energizer, a dreamer, a full-frame picture. The little details are what you don’t see in this large-scale approach. Those come with our actions and words that pour forth from our purpose.
As we gathered together to envision this statement, the question that came up for me, time and again, was- Why church? Why meet together and be in community, when you can get that elsewhere? What is unique about church that you can’t get somewhere else?
After many discussions both in the group, reading a few books on the topic, and harassing my friends, family, and acquaintances to tell me what they thought, it came down to this:
we genuinely belong to each other.
Another way to put that is
we’re responsible to one another.
Not for, but to.
When we join a community of believers, we are essentially agreeing to love and care for one another, no matter our differences, no matter what side of the row we sit on. We do this because we are compelled by Christ to do so. He calls us to it. While we may part ways with jobs, clubs, hobbies, friends, and sometimes family, our church community is an opportunity to show what it looks like to love without an exit strategy. To care when it’s inconvenient. And to forgive when we are wronged.
In The Holy Longing, Ronald Rolheiser says the following about church community:
Away from actual, historical church community, whatever its faults, we have an open field to live the unconfronted life, to make religion a private fantasy that we can selectively share with a few like-minded individuals who will never confront us where we most need challenge. The churches are compromised, dirty, and sinful, but, just like our blood families, they are also real. In the presence of people who share life with us regularly, we cannot lie, especially to ourselves, and delude ourselves into thinking we are generous and noble. In community the truth emerges and fantasies are dispelled….What is too painful to deal with is not the church’s imperfection but my own fantasies about my own goodness, which, in the grind of real community, will become painfully obvious.
I am responsible to Erin, to grieve and care for her when she loses Maelyn and Silas. You are responsible to me when I take my mother into rehab, checking to make sure I’m eating, sleeping, breathing. We are responsible to Jack and Tami, to rejoice and support them in this new phase of life, bittersweet as it may be.
Because we belong to one another. And that’s what church community is all about.