If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.~Philippians 2:1-4, The Message Bible
Dang, I want a hug!
Since mid-March, I’ve had three hugs from another human being. I’ve hugged some trees while hiking trails, as well as puppy time when kind friends brought their dog to play with me. Before the pandemic, I was a hugger. I don’t know how many hugs I’d pass out on Sunday’s to my church family – many of whom deliberately going out of their way to receive/give a Sunday hug with me. I think about these friends every Sunday now. Wishing I could be in worship with them.
I’m one of the unlucky ones, living alone during a pandemic. Life in quarantine has been difficult. It’s been draining. It’s been tiring. I received devastating news last week. Living in pandemic times probably amplified the news, because I have no one around to hug and hold onto.
Whereas I might talk with two or three people a day, there’s still that moment, as I get ready for bed, when I think “life would be so much easier with a hug.”
Deep Spirited Friends
In his epistles, the Apostle Paul writes about how we live, how we care for one another in community of believers, of followers of Christ. We are to lend a hand, put ourselves aside, and help one another. This call to the heart of the gospel has been what I’ve been writing about and reflecting on since the pandemic started.
We are being asked to be new people right now – using all our strength and fortitude as people of faith – to embrace ALL in love and help each other out.
We are being asked to live the heart of the gospel – to give over to LOVE.
To give over to LOVE we must be deeply spirited in our hearts. We must care and be giving. We must put our selfish interests aside.
We are not called to throw one another to the curb.
We are called to lend a hand.
We don’t abandon each other.
We reach out and help one another.
We don’t forget one another.
Instead, Paul calls us to be “deep spirited friends.” And this is all I want to be right now – a deep spirited friend – and walk with you – and change the world by embracing LOVE with new zeal and gusto.
Picking Up the Pieces
Life as we knew it a couple months now is gone. We are still out here riding the storm of change. There’s loss. There’s grief. There will be great challenges ahead when we come together to rebuild community. Some communities are shattered completely.
I no longer have a church community to call home. I have to begin again and rebuild community for myself. If I’m lucky and intentional, I might be able to find engaging ways to stay connected with friends and loved ones from my old church. But I also have a business to build, so…we’ll see…
So many challenges ahead.
But, tonight, this truth I do know – we aren’t alone. God is walking with us, and still calling forth a new season – with LOVE first and foremost at the center.
I’m still in deep prayer for each and every one of you, and I’m waiting out this storm with you. As always, if you need a friend, I’m here. I will embrace you with as much love I can, even if it’s a hug 6 feet at a distance.
Gratitude for Deep Spirited Friends
I have so much gratitude, and so much love in my heart today, for those deep spirited friends, who have reached out and lifted me up. Those who have held me deep in their hearts this past week, through my grief, when they couldn’t reach out and hold me close for real.
I hope, dear friends, you will continue to journey with me.
I will get back on my feet, and I will still be planting the seeds as we continue cultivating a new world in God’s garden. And when we begin to rebuild our communities and our world, I will be there with you, tending the seeds and watching them bear fruit.
Stay strong. Stay connected. Need prayers – drop me a line.~~
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