Have you ever made marshmallows from scratch?
If you have not, then you will have to trust me when I tell you that it is a messy process. The first time I made them I broke my electric hand mixer, burned my finger, and covered my entire kitchen with a thick layer of icing sugar. I was cleaning up for months. Having never made them before, I had a lot to learn.
So, having heard my experience, why would you ever want to make a marshmallow from scratch? One simple reason: they taste AMAZING. They are beautifully tender and light. They make every tastebud tingle. They are truly something to write home about!
As a church, we hold as one of our core values Community. True Community. I've noticed there is a lot in common between true community and homemade marshmallows.
If you've not worked to create true community before, you may need to trust me when I tell you that it is a messy process. It involves making space for voices we disagree with. It means willingly engaging in difficult topics, because it is in the deeps that the authentic is discovered. True community means laying aside our own agenda and commiting in advance to discovering what God has on His agenda for us all. It means being refreshed in our commitment to love one another.
As we pursue this kind of deep connection, the mess may spread all over the walls of our sanctuary some days. We may unknowingly hurt another, or be hurt. We may misunderstand or be misunderstood by another. We may feel provoked or proded to places we just don't want to go. It may feel uncertain, unfamiliar, and disquieting. We will all need to draw deeply on Jesus' unconditional love, for we simply are not that experienced in living in true community. We will all surely have much to learn.
So why even bother? Why not choose instead to live out quiet, safe, polite community? One simple reason: True Community Tastes AMAZING.
The early church in Corinth was struggling in the mess of true community when the apostle Paul reached out to remind them of why its worth yet pursuing. He gave them a sample taste, expressing it this way: "Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1 Cor 13:7-8a)
I am so grateful for all the ideas, voices, notions, hopes, and aspirations of the beautiful people who make up this true community we call Victoria Alliance Church. It will be messy somedays. Still we can remain confident that the love of Christ will unite us all, and give us the grace and compassion we need to work through the good thing He has begun.
Thank you for being a part of this true community. May you be encouraged and blessed, even in the mess. You are loved.