Included in God’s Community

 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:10 ESV

Today’s verse talks about us being God’s people and members in a community. It reminds me of a small town near where we used to live that had a sign as you entered that said, “Welcome to Nicholson: Home of 1500 friendly people and a few cranks!” We always laughed when we saw it, and even though we lived far out in the surrounding countryside, it gave us a sense of belonging – even if some of our neighbors were cranks! As Americans, we rightly prize our personal freedoms, but sometimes our emphasis on individualism leaves us failing to see ourselves as a part of a community. We become like the lyrics from the old Simon and Garfunkel song, “I am a rock, I am an Island.” For those in long-term care, this often leads to a disconnection that means no one calls us on our birthday, sends a Mother’s Day card or comes to visit at Thanksgiving. Sure, there are other residents, but the people who once formed our community are now absent. Sons and daughters, live in other states, grandchildren have no idea how to communicate if you’re not on Tik-Tok and even pastors are usually too busy to stop in and visit. How can we make a difference?

But instead of offering you a practical list of things to do, let me relate a personal story, that may help you to see how you can be a part of connecting people to community.

When I was still a landscaper, we worked for an older couple, named Al and Eleanor Castelli. Though the Castelli’s were a nice enough customers, they also were quite demanding. But as Al’s health began to decline, and dementia set in, Eleanor sometimes asked me to sit with Al while she went shopping. While she went to the store, I would listen to Al’s stories of growing up in the Bronx, working as a salesman at a radio station and how his mom made the best Italian food on the planet! For the next four years, we became friends. During that time period I was gradually retiring from my business, but I continued to do odd jobs for Eleanor, sit with Al and when he entered a nursing facility, it was only natural to come and visit. The highlight of those visits was an afternoon I came in to sing Christmas carols, and we ended up with an audience of a dozen people who were singing along! You see, it isn’t the “big” things we do, the formal ministries or the charities that we donate to that make the most difference. God’s community is bonded together by a series of our choices as the love of Jesus Christ flows out through our everyday lives and leads people to Him. That love always begins with Him, but God is asking us to help Him make the connection!

Author: pastorpete51

My wife and I serve as members of a worship team at a multicultural church. Our members are from Brazil, Nepal and the U.S.. Because of the many languages and cultures in our local body we face unique challenges, such as how many songs will we do in English today? What new songs can we use in either language that are simple enough for the people to sing. The songs, the devotions and insights here are a small portion of some of the ways God is leading us as we push towards the goal. I pray that these will be both a blessing and an encouragement for those of you who may pass by Praise 2 Worship.

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