The power of community

The power of community

I arrived back from the Congo 10 days ago to discover that our house had been overrun with unexpected occupants – no it wasn’t a band of crusty squatters, it was my family. My lovely daughter, son-in-law and their 3 lovely children. Fortunately our other 2.5 lodgers were not as present as usual thus freeing bedrooms pretty much as we needed them. They had got caught between houses and needed a week or two to find temporary accommodation. What could have been stressful or tense was in fact delightful. The chance to sit and chat over meals, or late in the evening to talk ideas and challenge each other proved to be a stimulating and very enjoyable time. They have now got their rented place and our house seems rather dull and empty!

All this reminded me of the life we aspired to and have tried to live since the 70’s. It was inspired by our reading of Graham Pulkingham’s ‘they left their nets’, the story of a pioneering Christian community at the church of the Redeemer in Houston, Texas. Since our second year of marriage Jenny and I have had people live with us. The most we ever had at one time was 18 under one roof! Though usually it’s been just 2 or 3 extras. Our first extra actually provided the deposit to help us buy our first house.

We’ve had people who have just needed somewhere to live. Others have needed the healing environment of a family to find God’s grace to change. Some have come specifically to be discipled, and a few to help us out at particularly intense times of our lives. All have enriched our lives and hopefully all have received something from living with us. We needed to modify the kind of people we had to live with us according to the age and stage of the children. Mostly the kids found it fun to have extra adults around (more in-house entertainment), but occasionally they resented the lack of time just with mum and dad.

It’s been a way of life for us for the last 35 years and it’s been encouraging to see so many others in the church in Liverpool embrace the same values and practices. As God said right at the beginning, ‘It’s not good for man to be alone’, Genesis 2:18, and as the Psalmist said ‘he sets the solitary in families’ Psalm 68:6 NKJV.

Of course all this is in the hope that as Jenny and I reach our dotage we will be welcomed into the home (or more likely annex) of one our lovely children!

This entry was posted by nic on Monday, April 2nd, 2012 at 5:01 pm and is filed under Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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