Day 31: Breakthrough to Community
By Dean Greer DSM Living Waters USA Manager Editor’s Note: TOB is the abbreviation for Pope St. John Paul II’s book “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body” Pauline Press ‘Man becomes an image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion.’ (TOB 9:3)
Early on in my healing journey, I discovered the remarkable way that God uses community to break my heart open to encounter His love. Prior to conversion as a young adult, community threatened me; its value was enigmatic, elusive. Now many years into my healing journey, I’m grateful for the clarity and wholeness it brings.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I was taught that the community around me was watching my every move, casting judgment on whether I was worthy of membership. I worked tirelessly to create an image that was impossible to maintain and, in so doing, forsook the true image I was created to reveal. Gratefully, God broke through my façade and began resurrecting the fullness of His image in me.
It began when I could no longer forsake the truth – the truth that my broken attempts at securing love were leading me to death. In offering Him my brokenness, my sin, He didn’t withhold His love. My offering liberated His love to be more freely realized. It had always been there, I just disqualified myself from receiving it. His Body around me communicated powerfully that I was worthy of His love.
I remember one such encounter among my Living Waters leadership team. As their leader, I usually extend forgiveness rather than need it. This time I had my own sin to confess. In fear and shame, I expected their anger, judgment, and rejection. Instead, they surrounded me with mercy and truth.
Their love brought me back into alignment with His love. I reclaimed my rightful place of sonship and the rich inheritance He had purposed for me from the beginning. My own death and resurrection that night opened the door for the Holy Spirit to encounter everyone in a powerful night of ministry.
Today, as I immerse myself in Jesus’ community, I find new revelation to me and through me. I can be known and loved into greater alignment with His will. I’m still capable and tempted to settle for less in my attempts to be loved, to convey a 'more acceptable' image. Daily and actively, I choose to offer my humanity to the good of community.
In doing so, I am reminded of the gift He made me to be and the gift He made others to be for me. As I offer my gift freely, I am able to freely receive the gift of others. In community, we discover the beauty of His image revealed one to another.
‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’
‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’