A village: We’re better together
Rebecca writes on the importance of community—viewed as a village—highlighting that Jesus followers will benefit from banding together, whether that's for studying the bible or living in an increasingly secular world.
It takes a village to raise a child
I’m sure most of us are familiar with the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child.” This saying conjures images of community, connectedness, and practical support. Before social media and smartphones entered the space shared between humans, I think we were more physically and emotionally connected to each other, fostering a greater sense of community, and providing practical support for each other.
I realise no era of human society has been perfect, and today, people do show up for others in many hands-on and meaningful ways. But I think that sometimes we do need to go back this village mentality. By this I mean, drawing close to our local community.
The people we surround ourselves with have a critical impact on how we grow up and how we navigate challenges. We need various people to influence our lives, bringing with them different perspectives, skills, and experiences. This array of input helps us to navigate the myriad of challenges and situations we will face in life and encourage us to continue in the midst of struggle.
The village is of serious importance, and I am of the opinion that the church village is of utmost importance.
The church village
Living out your faith in a world that can be so against it or so indifferent to it naturally comes with many challenges. People are encouraged to believe in what makes them feel good. Western society supports individualistic lives, and a mentality that we should do everything for ourselves, on our own. But really, we are better together. We are better as a village.
Whether you’re studying the Bible with its rich cultural context, steeped in meaning and a history which is quite removed from our present reality, or you are simply trying to live your life in this fast-paced and demanding world, followers of Jesus in 2021 face challenges. We can deal with these challenges by banding together.
Meeting together to study the word and dig deeper can be critical in grasping the significance of it. Grabbing someone after church on a Sunday to sit and pray with you over a current struggle or an upcoming event can be the difference between being overwhelmed by the situation or relieving your stress over it. It’s not hard to see that the church community is so important to your faith.
Needs and input
Raising a child can be like growing and feeding your faith. Both require love and input from many people. Both require discipline and focus. Both require vulnerability and care. Both need attention, and a lot of it. It takes many things to raise and care for a child, and it can be easy to see that when you consider that a baby cannot do many things for itself.
Comparatively, it can be challenging to see which aspects of your faith and others’ faiths need some care. It is not always a tangible relationship. Furthermore, we sometimes consider our relationships with God to be so personal. We don’t always share with our church community what we are struggling with out of embarrassment, shame, or pride. But it does not have to be that way. We can be the village for each other.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews chapter 10, verses 24-25.
In these verses, the writer of Hebrews was possibly encouraging Jewish Christians who stopped meeting together. Arguably, it was so important that they met together that it was included in this letter. The importance of the village was relevant then and it remains relevant today. We are not called to walk this journey alone, and I don’t think that we can really flourish without the input from others into our lives.
It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to surround one another as we journey in our relationships with God. A village to teach and learn together; a village to pray and intercede for each other; a village to rejoice and proclaim together; a village to share and cry with each other.
Rebecca Hoverd studies law and geography at The University of Auckland and loves writing as a way to communicate with God and to express her thoughts. She recently got engaged to the love of her life and she loves coffee, conversations, and would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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