If We’re Going to Be the Church We’ll Need Some Apple Crisp

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by Sue Donaldason | welcomeheart.com

I like to say that if God wanted us to be all by ourselves God would give us each our own planet. Would you like your own planet? Maybe so. I can just picture it.

“You, there. Yes, Sue—you get that planet over there by the mall. Imagine! Your own mall. The Starlight Mall. You like it? Good! You have it all to yourself.”

“And, you. Yes, you Melissa—you have the planet with the lake, complete with cabin porch and stacks of firewood for the cold months. Expecting company? Well, don’t.”

Sound good? Some of you might love your own planet at times, especially those with small children. But that’s one more reason we need each other—to get us through those toddler years.

God wants us together. God created the earth, then us, to be in community on this earth for now.

Together or not, we can be lonely. Loneliness can hit you in a crowded courtyard after church or surrounded by family or in a marriage. For whatever reason, we may still be alone surrounded by a planet of people. We can feel lonely—like no one really knows us, or no one really cares to know us.

As one of the most extroverted people I know, I’ve still found myself lonely at times. I don’t like it. It’s a killing feeling. It’s a feeling different from solitude because it’s not by choice, and it sucks the joy out of life.

When I moved to Brazil, I was surrounded by wonderful people but I needed friends. My wise, older roommate figured that out. She told me, “You need to invite people over—like on Friday.” I was only going to live there two years. I needed to get started.

We sent out invitations to different groups each week for the next six weeks. I served apple crisp and vanilla ice cream each time. I became an expert on apple crisp. There were no chocolate chips in Brazil in those days. I had people over because I was desperate for friends. I made friends because I needed to.

We all need to. It’s no secret we do, but when we are lonely, we keep it a secret. It’s embarrassing to admit. It must mean there’s something wrong with us—with me—that no one has called or texted or wanted, me.

It’s my problem, I think, and the more I think about that the worse I feel. And if I feel badly, I won’t call someone to come for apple crisp or chocolate chip pie. Nor will you. Yet maybe that person I might call needs my call and my pie even more than I do.

We need solitude—look at Jesus. We don’t need loneliness. The Bible speaks to community:

“Two people are better than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one falls the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand and conquer. Three are even better…” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

We’ve heard of tragic stories of lonely people dying alone and no one missing them for several days. Dying alone is not God’s intention for us. God allowed Jesus to die alone so we wouldn’t have to. But some of the loneliest people I’ve met are Christ followers. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Kathy Vick from runlikeagirl.org wrote, “The church is supposed to be a sanctuary, not just have one, so if people feel forgotten or ignored or invisible at church, then we have a serious problem.”

I love that! You and I are to be a sanctuary—a sacred spot of love and peace and safety for one another.

I would add this: I’m to be a sanctuary with the back door ajar, an extra seat in the circle and maybe an apple crisp on the table. When God brings someone along, I want to pass on the invitation:

Come on in. There’s room here. God wants you to know Him. God wants you to know me, and me, you.

We’re together for a reason—one planet for all. Invite someone. Three is better than one.

Sue Donaldson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sue Moore Donaldson speaks and writes to connect women to one another and to God. She and her husband Mark live on the central coast of California and have raised three semi-adult daughters (which means she’s always at the bank or on her knees). Sue blogs at welcomeheart.com and is a frequent speaker for women’s events.

 

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