Recently, I was struggling with a portable lamp that seemed to be on the blink. At first I thought the bulb was blown, but when I monkeyed around with the cord a bit, I was able to get an occasional flash of light out of it and concluded it was a bad connection. I was finally able to coax the lamp into constant operation by getting the cord and plug in just the right position.
A strong connection can be pretty tenuous, but it’s so important. It’s especially crucial when it comes to our interpersonal family and community connections. Listening well, communicating clearly, extending and receiving welcome and grace, and staying in relationship when the going gets tough are all essential ingredients to cultivating and maintaining healthy connections. Sometimes, even just taking the time to get to know one another better goes a long way.
Here at Redeemer, we’re incredibly blessed to have such a variety and diversity of individuals who make up our congregation and community. With that blessing come both a challenge and an opportunity: the opportunity to get to know one another and to build strong connections despite our differences in age, faith and family background, worship style preference, race and ethnicity, geographical history and a host of other distinctive factors that add to the richness of our church family. These differences can either be seen as barriers to connection or invitations to engage one another with graciousness and curiosity.
This summer, we have the opportunity to rub shoulders a bit more closely than usual as we gather each Sunday in a combined worship service. Our primary purpose each week, of course, is to glorify God and to open ourselves to the transforming work of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. But we also have a wonderful opportunity each Sunday to get to know at least one person a little bit better. We have the chance to welcome someone who may be visiting Redeemer for the first time. We have an opportunity to form connections that are a bit deeper and a bit wider. I encourage you to be intentional in seizing these opportunities each week this summer.
Of course, our opportunities for stronger connections don’t present themselves only on Sundays. Consistently, I’ve seen Christians grow stronger connections when they serve side by side. This summer, there are many opportunities throughout each week for each of us to dive into fun, rewarding, challenging areas of service, within the walls of the Redeemer building and beyond. In our children’s ministries and our youth ministries, as we host families through Families Moving Forward, as we head out for Second Harvest, and as we minister to our homebound brothers and sisters, there are numerous opportunities to make a difference this summer and get to know one another better as we serve alongside each other.
The Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians (and to us) about our connection to one another and to Jesus Christ: “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22). A strong building has building blocks that are well connected, that support each other effectively and that are positioned exactly as the builder intends. I thank God for opportunities we have this summer (and beyond) to strengthen our connections and to build something beautiful together.