My friend Drew died 18 months ago. It was sudden, unexpected, tragic. Drew and I sang together with the Kansas City Women's Chorus. She was an alto, I am a soprano.....but that didn’t matter, Drew made friends across chorus sections and across all avenues of her life. She had been, until her retirement a couple of years ago, a beloved teacher of hundreds of middle school math students in Clinton, MO.
Drew was smart, curious, and generous. When she found out I liked to read mysteries, she put me on to Louise Penny, who has written a series of murder mysteries featuring Armand Gamache, a Montreal detective. These books are lyrically written and their characters become beloved friends as one works through the novels. I recently read the most recent book in the series, and it started me thinking about Drew and how her life touched mine.
And, as these things go, those thoughts started me thinking about so many lives that touch mine in so many ways. Some lasting, some not, Some positive, some negative. And those thoughts led me to this devotional and thinking about my relationship to churches, and the people within them, and how they have touched my life.
For me, church is community. I have found my people in churches along the way as we have moved to various locations. Saint Andrew has been my church home now for almost 15 years. I have learned, grown, and matured in my faith. My heart has been broken, and mended again. My faith has been tried, and strengthened by the challenges. So many of you have touched me deeply!
Jesus' disciples were a community. As they spread the good news, people in many corners of the ancient world became communities of believers. His teachings now reach all corners of the world, with faithful believers of every stripe.
The New Testament has many references to community. In Galatians 6 we are told to "Bear one another's burdens....." In Thessalonians 4 it is: " Therefore comfort one another...." My favorite is from Romans 12: "We have many parts in our bodies, and all these parts have different functions. In the same way, though we are many in the church, we are one in union with Jesus, just as each piece of a body is part of the whole."
As we struggle in today's world to make sense of so much that is senseless, let's remember that we all touch other lives in countless ways. We can lend a hand, recommend a book, give a hug to a person who needs one.
Thank you, Saint Andrew community, for being there for me.
(And if you also are a mystery lover, and haven't discovered Louise Penny, please start the series with the first one, 'Still Life'.)