Why Embracing Community Matters
Erica Burgos joined me on the first ever faith feast serves day. I asked her to write about her experience and this is what she had to say:
When I first heard that the Faith Feast was organizing a volunteer day, I immediately signed up. I’ve wanted to get more involved in the community and using my time to help feed those in need seemed like a great way to give back.
After arriving at the food bank, the Faith Feast ladies and I were placed on the produce team. We were told to make bags with all the good pears while separating out and discarding the misunderstoodpears. We all took our places, lined up on opposite sides of long commercial equipment stands and began sorting pears while 90’s hits blasted in background. Two and a half hours later, after dozens of volunteers had finished their assigned tasks, we were then informed that our hard work had produced over 25,000 meals for families in need! As incredible as that feat was, as I look back on that day, I am reminded that although I was doing something to bless others, I was blessed in the process. Without even realizing it, I had not only become part of a larger community of volunteers but I'd also become part of a community of women who lived their faith without hesitation.
Just like those pears we were asked to separate out, I too have often felt misunderstood. In high school, friendships came easy but as time went on, I have found it difficult to cultivate the kind of lasting friendships my soul was longing for. A part of me started to doubt whether I was even supposed to establish those relationships that so many others seemed to have found. But I was reminded that God has always intended for us to be in community with others.
“Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the promise. But now in Christ, you who once were far away have been brought near.” Ephesians 2:12
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people. In him the whole building is joined together. And in him you too are being built together.” - Ephesians 2:19-22
That morning, I was bearing witness to God’s intentions as He surrounded me with people who truly wanted to know me. In working along side this incredibly diverse group of women, hearing about their struggles, their hopes, and their dreams, I recognized that they too, had prayed for togetherness, prayed for the opportunity to minister to others, and prayed to find understanding in those who also felt misunderstood.
That day I realized that God was not ignoring my desire for meaningful relationships, He was just answering in ways I didn’t quite expect. These ladies may not be people I speak to on a daily basis- we don’t have slumber parties or escape on a girls’ weekend together but they are women who will ask me the tough questions. They are women who know the Word, who will speak the Truth in love, and who will pray on my behalf even when I don’t ask for it. We may not be sharing in every moment of each other’s lives but we are sharing in a mission to love others as God has loved us. I’ve often heard that God doesn’t promise that this life is going to be easy but He does provides people who will help us carry our burdens.
It is in these seemingly small interactions we have with those that God puts in our lives, these people who may not be who we thought they were, who will help make us into who we are called to be.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2