Like Abraham, we go because God has called us. God gives us a vision for the redemption of humanity – every tribe, tongue, nation, and community. Out of the desires in that vision, we incur great loss, leaving our father and mother, our home, and our community because we have the hope of a greater community to come. We look forward to the day when every community will worship together before the throne.
For years, I labored in a city that was not my home. I found myself with a people that had known deep rejection by various communities, were rootless, and – understandably – were cautious with outsiders. As I got to know them, my heart carried deep desires for them. I wanted them to have a deeper understanding of the love of the Father – even seeing their community as being objects of His great love.
One Spring, my family received an invitation to a New Year’s party some in our small church were hosting. My kids came along, unwillingly dressed to the nines.
“Mom, why are we dressing up?”
“Because this is their holiday. We will honor them, by dressing for the occasion.”
We watched from the edges of the room as our friends danced steps my feet did not know. We spent the evening visiting, eating, and laughing. After a while, some of the ladies invited me to the dance floor. They taught me their dance and we finished the evening dancing.
The following morning at church, a friend approached me, “Sister Laurie, thank you.”
“What did I do?”
“You loved my people. You showed up yesterday. You celebrated and danced with us. You loved my people.”
Through my honoring their event and celebration, this brother was shown that his people were valued and had a place. Let the people we work with know that their communities are deeply loved by God. Let them have a glimpse of eternity – of their people being included in the multitude worshipping the Lamb. By leaving our own communities to honor a new community, we communicate the love of the Father for the Nations.
How have you seen God reflected through your host community in a way you don’t notice in your birth community?