He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two. -Mark 6:7
You can't follow Jesus alone.
I know lots of people think they can. And it is true you don't have to be a part of a Christian community to admire Jesus' teachings or try to model your life after him. However, it is when two or three are gathered in his name that he is present among them. It is in community that we deepen in faith - and in relationship with God and one another. Our gospel story this Sunday indicates that Jesus always sent people out to serve the world faithfully in pairs - never alone. Why is this?
I'm going to use the example of a book group. You can really enjoy a book on your own, but when you've found a book you love, it's great to talk it over with someone else who has also read it. When you share the experience of the book with others, the interaction between you enhances and adds to whatever you got out of the book alone. Others see things differently than you do. They can affirm what you saw in the book, or they can challenge your views. They can introduce new insights you hadn't noticed or show you a whole new side of what the author was saying. The mutual exploration of a good book brings the group to a deeper understanding of its meaning, as well as a deeper understanding of each other.
Saying you follow Jesus but you don't take part in a Christian community is like always reading alone. You'll get plenty out of it - I mean, Jesus' teachings have a lot to offer. But without the exploration and deepening that can only happen between people, there's only so far you'll be able to go by yourself. To find depth in faith, you need the energy and input of others. That is where a true living faith comes from.
There are many ways to join with others to grow in faith this summer at St. James. Of course, every week there is worship and fellowship at 9am on Sunday. But also take a look at our ever growing list of Juicy Summer Community events. Are there any of these fun activities or outings you would enjoy joining in on? If so, you can be sure that at least 2 or 3 members of St. James are already committed to be at each one, so you will definitely find others there to share and enjoy the experience with.
So while nourishing time alone is important for everyone, in our society, it's all too easy to become isolated. Getting together with others in faith is not only a lot of fun, but can really juice up your spiritual life and your relationships. Come deepen in faith, fellowship and fun with us this summer.
Our readings for this Sunday are HERE. Note that during Ordinary Time, we are using "Track 2"