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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Abundant Hope Through Belonging

We wonder at times how we will cope,
What’s behind this thinking is a lack of hope,
Then with abandon we make efforts to belong,
And with no thought of complaint we sing our song.
With resilience above frustrations to hide,
We have what’s needed and over hurts we ride,
Belonging’s a thing we can know gives us hope,
With belonging alone, we will inevitably cope.
***
In Belonging Is Hope
As I reflect over the times when I have been hurt, particularly within church settings—the experience of a ‘church hurt’—I understand now there was a sense of unbelonging.
Such a mental and emotional mood of isolation is obviously against the purposes of the church, for the church exists that all would belong in loving fellowship under Christ. But alas, the church is full of people—broken human beings—people with all sorts of complexes (yes, at times, us), including superiority complexes and prejudices where God has not broken through their (also our) rock faces of pride yet. This is just one example where fellowship can be horrendously flawed.
But then we meet the theory: in belonging is Hope. Within hope is the genesis of life, of love, of faith, and of every good thing, for God is Hope.
God meets his people within the loving throng.
God works through his people, and by loving each other we know God. When we look into another person’s eyes, under Christ, and there is love in those eyes, we know we belong, and our gait is filled with hope, especially when we are struggling. When we see love in another’s eyes toward us, we love them back, and they have hope, too.
In belonging is Hope.
Many of us may see the sacrifices required in belonging and not want to go there. But the initial sacrifices involved in belonging are repaid by God by blessings that multiply more than we readily imagine.
Soon enough, we are not viewing our overtures of fellowship as sacrifices at all; they are investments of love. We want to love. We want to love because we belong. And others want to love us because they belong.
In such love as this we can see the benefit of hope, but it took faith to venture out and to risk in belonging. And where those risks do not pay off, we shouldn’t give up—there is a fellowship out there for us. We belong somewhere. And for every church or group we feel rejected by, there is another church or group waiting with open arms to welcome us. But we should enter every church, and into every fellowship, with the willingness to risk our love in faith to redeem hope by feeling that we belong.
***
Let’s sing the poetic song once more:
We wonder at times how we will cope,
What’s behind this thinking is a lack of hope,
Then with abandon we make efforts to belong,
And with no thought of complaint we sing our song.
With resilience above frustrations to hide,
We have what’s needed and over hurts we ride,
Belonging’s a thing we can know gives us hope,
With belonging alone, we will inevitably cope.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.


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