The center of every relationship

In this morning's Fruit of the Vine, Cliff Loesch tells of his growing up years at Booker Friends Church, a worshiping community "in the panhandle of Texas." Looking back, Cliff remembers games of volleyball, gathering with friends at Dairy Queen, discussions about faith: "My family went to church whenever something was happening." It brings up a question. What happened? Cliff wonders, in his reflection, why "this kind of community is hard to find," why it is today that we're unable to have these kinds of experiences: "We lead such fragmented lives."

It doesn't have to be this way.

Cliff notes that Thomas Kelly described back in 1941 how "horizontal (person-to-person) relationships . . . often displace the horizontal-vertical." These shallow, horizontal relationships are ultimately unsatisfying in comparison to vertical relationships in which "the person-to-person relationship is in God." We miss out on deep community because we "get too wrapped up in the horizontal-only part of it."

But if we want something different, we have to start somewhere.

Cliff suggests something as simple as "placing ourselves in the company of others - having friends over, meeting someone for coffee, getting involved at church - is a good start." And he offers this prayer: "God, our Maker, anoint our community in ways that make you the center of every relationship. May we carry the sweet fragrance of Jesus to one another and to the world."

Eric Muhr