How Important is it to be Together in the Church and in Your Marriage?

Just some thoughts I have running around in my head...
Last Wednesday evening, I had our community group over, and it was such a good time. We ate a meal together, laughed together, prayed together, looked at God's Word together, and we talked about the many things going on around us. We sat there around the fire and shared our hearts for the Lord, our concern for the struggles surrounding us, and then asked each other what our response should be as a follower of Jesus. I realized that I am surrounded by a community of followers who are good friends, and those relationships are growing deeper and more meaningful.
After they left, I sat there with a good friend, and we dived in a little deeper to the essentialness of belonging and participating in a Christ-centered community. Again I walked in the house knowing that I had just spent some quality time with a man who loved Jesus.
There is too much loneliness and isolation in this world! You know the kind that produces anxiety, depression, discouragement, bitterness, anger, and hurt, leading to dark unhealthy attitudes and points of view. Maybe to some extent, we all have been dealing with these emotions because we can't be together like we used to. We had grown pretty used to getting together whenever we wanted to, no restrictions, no perimeters, no social distancing, or masks just getting together. Enjoying this thing that we call fellowship or community, I believe we all took it for granted. We forgot how essential our community is and not only because it fills us with fullness but also speaks to a hurting world with the hope of Jesus.
We know things might not get better for a while. However, you and I still have a responsibility to respond to the loneliness and isolation all around us because it robs people of joy and a whole host of other things! My favorite person on the face of the earth, my wife, found a quote that challenges us to understand that sometimes the hard seasons and circumstances don't pass on. They actually stay and last. Yet even then, we are called to respond, the world is waiting and watching for our response, people we know are watching for our response. Our response holds so much hope and assurance that we can be part of and participate in a rich community void of loneliness and isolation, even in the tough times and circumstances that last.
I think this even becomes more important as we consider key relationships like marriage. A relationship that God designed and, at times, can become one of the most lonely relationships where one of the partners or maybe even both feel isolated and lost. Sometimes you don't realize it until it hits you like a ton of bricks, and other times you can feel the slow erosion of the relationship, and you just don't know how to stop it. In the community of Christ-followers, there can be those who feel neglected, uncared for, and taken for granted. We can't let that happen in the church, and we can't let that happen in our marriages! When it does, partners begin to ask themselves questions like do I even matter, or where the joy goes. They feel a distance that seems almost impossible! As a Christ-followers' community, the marriage relationship is a place to find lifelong companionship and intimacy and be a loud and clear communication to the world that there is hope in Christ. God's goodness can be enjoyed every day. Our spouses are watching our response, our children are watching for our response, and our neighbors are watching for our response.
So again, what will our response be?
First and foremost, thank God for his goodness and then ask him to have you been taking for granted the people he has placed in your life. If you have, make sure to stop it and renew
your commitment to cherish and build community. If you're looking at your marriage, then renew your commitment to cherish and water the relationship God has blessed you with. Be proactive and creative, we might not meet like we used to, but that does not mean we can't be a thriving, growing community of Christ-followers. In the past few months, I enjoyed such a good community at the park, on porches, and in back yards. I have eaten lunch with others in homes and not fast food places. I have been more intentional in having people come to the church in smaller groups to catch up and listen to what God is teaching them and doing in their life. I have written more cards and notes and letters to encourage people, and I have made more phone calls to catch up. In other words, I had to make it a priority, I had to make the time because I realized that yes, community, being together is very important!
It might be the same in a marriage. We can get too busy, too distracted, and too tired. The ugly head of loneliness and isolation has shown up in our marriage relationship before we know it. We realize that this is not what God designed it to be! What is our response? Renew, refresh, re-introduce the things you did to cultivate that companionship and intimacy. Understand that it does take quality time and effort to continue to thrive as a couple.
I am always learning, and I sure have a lot more to learn. Still, as I think about relationships and community, I am amazed at how the church and marriage have so much in common. We say that they are the most essential thing in our lives. Let it be the church or our spouse, but when we look at how we live day in and day out, it sometimes is easy to see what we say and what is really happening is not even close.
So with all of this said, let's commit together to eliminate loneliness and isolation! Don't let it happen! Choose to respond........
Because it is absolutely essential that we are together in the church and in our marriages!
-Tony Allmoslecher

1 Comment

Linda Boyd - September 27th, 2020 at 10:38am

I loved this!!