Advent Day 26: Community

Advent Day 26

So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.   They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  (Acts 2:41-42)

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve!  My last two posts (tomorrow and Christmas Day) will be centered more on Christmas, so today’s post is an attempt to wrap up all the thoughts on spiritual practices that I’ve shared.    In my preparation for this blog, I did a lot of praying and thinking.  Some Christian leaders are criticizing folks’ interest in spirituality, saying it’s too loose and self-centered.  At the same time, Americans’ interest in do-it-yourself spiritual and religious practice continues to grow. 

For me the big question is, what do you do once you realize you’re on a spiritual journey?  It seems to me you have two choices.

One, you can continue the journey on your own.  Thanks to the internet and huge bookstores with religion and inspiration sections, you can keep busy for a long time.

Two, you can throw your lot in with a religious or spiritual community.  In some areas of the world, you have plenty of choices; in others less.  Then again, there are also online religious communities (I haven’t tried that out yet.)

Actually, there’s a third choice:  do both. 

Being a part of a Christian community, in addition to developing my relationship with God on my own, has given me three things: 

  1. a chance to pray with others, for others, and be prayed for.
  2. time to break bread with other people.  I like to talk, and eating together is a great chance to do that.
  3. an opportunity to learn something, to throw out my ideas, and to discuss with other people.

I realize that not all religious communities offer these things.  Some are more about commands, or performance, or squeezing people into a box.  Yet for those of us who want to be Christian, it’s all there in Acts 2.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading about and trying some of the spiritual practices I’ve described for the past several weeks.  As you move on, think and pray about a church/community you could join (or ways you could become more involved in your own community.)  Could sharing your thoughts, prayers, and meals take you to a new level?  Could opening the door to a church open other doors you had no idea existed?  Could it just maybe change your life?

Today’s Scripture reading from the PC(USA):

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