Life on Mission Together
In staff meeting this week, Josh Hall reflected on 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Connections Weekend gave us a chance to come together and do what this verse says. “To encourage” literally means to put courage inside someone else. “To build each other up” comes from the same root as the word we get for building a house, or an “oikos.” When you put the concept together, it’s like having a seminar on building lives together with courage and strength.
Our breakout sessions this year were designed to bring people together around their passions: the homeless, homebound, workers in business and government, Sabal Palm mentors, and prison ministry, just to name a few. Each person strengthened each other in their sessions by sharing their experiences, good and bad. We reinforced what we already knew through the power of community.
It’s easy to go our separate ways after great worship services like we have on Sunday morning and simply regroup the next week for more information. Connections Weekend reminded us that there are many people scattered across our community that are doing the same things we’re doing. What would a life on mission be like if we could do this together?
The Celtic Christians encouraged each person in their churches to have an “anam-cora,” a soul friend. This is a person who could share your heart’s desires. The person could hold you accountable, pour his life into you, and to let you know that you really matter. This kind of person may not be an expert, they simply share the passion that Christ has placed inside you.
In Moby Dick, Herman Melville described this kind of relationship between Ishmael and Queeqeg. When he saw his friend and tattooed companion, Ishmael said of Queeqeg, “You cannot hide the soul. Through all his unearthly tatooings, I saw the traces of a simple and honest heart; and in his large, deep eyes, fiery black and bold, there seemed tokens of a spirit that would dare a thousand devils.”
How you live your life with others is so important because you cannot hide your soul. This is what the soul friend does, and by doing so you instill one another with courage. Keep it up. You’re already on the voyage.