Monday, July 30, 2012

Discipleship in Community

Every week, I look forward to Sunday worship. To be able to go and sing and pray with my church family, to hear the scripture read and preached, and to express my love, praise and gratitude to God alongside others who are similarly overwhelmed by God is joy and excitement for me. So when I knew I would miss worship this past Sunday, I was disappointed, but instead decided to be more attentive to worshipping God through the activities of the day, which were centered around moving Nick, our younger son, out of the house he’s lived in for the past year.

Nick is an intern with the University of Georgia Wesley Foundation, about to begin his third year in ministry there. UGA Wesley is a huge ministry, with over 1000 students a week participating in worship, small groups, and discipleship meetings. (You can find out more about UGA Wesley here). Other than the director, Rev. Bob Beckwith, the leadership is comprised exclusively of young adults. Students may serve in leadership roles beginning with their second year of college. Some who have served for several years as leaders may offer themselves in service as interns, where they are treated as full-time missionaries in the mission field of Athens. These interns raise their own support, living by faith on a day to day basis. Associate Directors, who are still young adults, have invested their lives in the UGA Wesley ministry for a longer term. They receive a small stipend but still depend on support.

Yesterday I saw an example of the church lived out in the world. The community that is UGA Wesley is an embodiment of the church at its best. There is love, mutual support, prayer, and sharing of resources among this group of young adults. Although leases commence and end the middle of this week, intern training also begins this week, so Nick and others could only move on the weekend. When we arrived to help Nick move out, Nick shared the plan for the move. He was moving out of the place he’s been in the past year, moving all his stuff into the garage at the home where other Wesley interns live, staying with yet another group of interns for the week, then moving into his new place next weekend. The other guys he will be living with, also interns, have all made similar arrangements through the Wesley intern family.

I know this is just a small example of the hospitality and generosity among this group, and Jim and I have experienced it many times, from the times we’ve attended worship at Wesley on Wednesday nights to the care and support we and Nick received through Nick’s ongoing lung collapses, his surgeries to correct these, and recoveries afterward. As parents, we’ve been confident that Nick was surrounded by a community of care and love when he needed it, and he has participated in caring for and loving others. There is a spirit of mutuality among these disciples that gives without keeping score, and receives with grace and gratitude.

So while I was not able to worship as I typically do on Sunday, I spent a hot summer moving day in the presence of God in the Kingdom of God. I saw the Word alive and active. Praise God!

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