I meet with a small group (about 10 people) from my church every week to talk about that week’s sermon, about the Bible text that the sermon was on, about the meaning of the message, about how it affects our own lives and faith … and really about whatever else comes up in the course of the discussion.
I love my small group.
So it filled me with sadness when my small group blew up this week.
Some members of the group were feeling attacked, disrespected, laughed at, hurt, and marginalized during this week’s meeting.
One of the things that pains me is that I was there, and I didn’t even realize all that was going on. But clearly from today’s long chain of e-mails about it, there were things going on that I didn’t notice. It wasn’t just what was said. I learned from the e-mail chain that there were lots of things going on beneath the surface with body language, facial expressions, people leaning back in chairs and crossing their arms, things that were stabbing the hearts of other group members that I totally didn’t notice while it was happening.
There were accusations of judgmentalism, and of un-Christian attitudes.
4 members of the group are leaving it, some in anger and some just in pain.
This hurts my soul. I have come to cherish the thoughts and perspectives of all members of this small group, including those who are leaving. This leaves me feeling empty and bewildered.
It also makes me think about the Church – not the buildings or even the local congregation, but the worldwide Body of Christ. When even ten people can’t manage to love one another in light of our histories and differences and worldly struggles, how can the worldwide Body of Christ ever achieve that state?
It is ironic — the very same night that all this pain and division were going on around me, I had actually been feeling more connected than usual. I was thinking about what it means to be “in Christ” .. . really almost feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit connecting us and working within each of us as we are bound together for Eternity in Christ across worldly differences and divisions.
And then this happened.
May God bless us all with His peace and justice and wisdom and love for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ today.