Someone is in love with my husband. She is beautiful, soft, and really smart. For a dog. She is our border collie, named Cookie. When I say that she is in love with him, I am not exaggerating. If you saw her lay her head on his chest and heard the moaning and whimpering that goes on as she gazes into his eyes, you would understand. She’s got it bad.

Hot Pastor brought her to church yesterday as he spoke about our need for connection and community. Though he was not trying to compare us to dogs, she needs her pack (especially the hot pack leader) much like we need each other. He shared scripture from Ecclesiastes of how “two are better for one”. I heard person after person share about their need for community. It is an undeniable desire that was woven into our deepest place by our creator.

We long for acceptance, for others to see us as we are and step into relationship with us despite our messiness. Taking on our messes and struggles alone is too much. And so our hearts ache to be known, to be seen and to be carried when our strength is gone. More than anything, we want comfort and answers for our pain. In God’s infinite wisdom he knew we would want to see and hear and feel his love through another person, so he created community.

Along the way we have believed a lie. Our enemy has convinced us that we have to get it together before joining in community. We have to get “right” before going to church. Clean your house and hide your messes before having the neighbors over for dinner. Be a “better” Christian before sharing your faith or going on mission. 

Jesus himself said that he came for the sick and the sinners. (Matthew 9:11-13) Pretty sure that covers us all. He invites all of us who are weary and burdened to come to him. That is the truth, that the church should be a hospital for the hurting. Waiting until you get your life “right” before you go to church, worship, or serve is like trying to get cleaned up before you take a bath. 

Jesus does the cleaning. He forgives and gives new life, new starts. If you know someone who is desperately trying to “get it together” to be accepted by God or by the church, go love them with the grace of Jesus who ate with the despised and rejected, who spent most days with a dirty gang of fishermen. 

Our Father uses community to show us his love and grace. He gives us each other for comfort during our pain and strength during our battles. He just says “come.” If you are afraid to get real and transparent in community, your fear just might come between you and one of the greatest gifts your creator has for you. Let it go. 

We are all messy. None of us have it together, but one thing is for sure. We are better together. Get plugged in to a body of believers who will love on you right where you are. 

Romans 3:23

New International Version (NIV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,