The friendships I do have there, I walked in with the first day. I'm hoping that changes this year, but either way, I completely feel lead in where I am and I cannot tell you how much the sermons have been impacting how I see and live my life. Or at least how I see me living my life. I see a lot I don't like. I am in desperate need of some change.
Pastor Richard began a new series on Intimacy with the new year. Intimacy in relationships on all levels. Last week, he began breaking down biblical examples of community and friendships within the church. How it was meant to be - lending, giving, forgiving without measure or holding back. As the strong, holding up the weak. And then, being weak and allowing others to help us up when they've grown strong.
We might get tired of helping others, but ultimately, it's the role we all choose. We like to be the strong. And we hate to be the weak. We hate to share our weak thoughts. We hate to show our weak needs.
All the while forgetting that He chose to work through flesh and blood on this earth, and while we know we are weak and He is strong - we dare not accept that the way to accessing His strength might be the humble route of letting our friends be strong.
When we see others in need we hold back enough to ensure we won't become weak. We'll do a lot in fact to ensure we don't have to become weak... or appear weak.
I find myself hungering more and more for those relationships who've let me be weak, and who let me be strong. Oddly enough, many of them are also the friendships who are becoming more and more out of my usual daily schedule. They aren't convenient by any standard. Most of them aren't next to me on Sunday, across the street any more, or even a short drive. I can feel how every current would just pull me out and off if I don't keep calling, scheduling, and intentionally choosing to go deep.
Pastor Richard gave an example that has long been a story in my mind - CS Lewis's description of hell in The Great Divorce. According to Lewis's telling, hell is where we get everything we desire, at the expense of intimacy with those we love. And it looks terrifying just like the place we live right now. This life seems designed to stretch us further and further apart from one another, and it takes a fight to hold fast to real relationships.
I refuse to go far from those who are deep.