We all yearn for community: a place to belong, a place where our personal welfare is considered important by others and where we can depend on the charity and grace of others. Tabitha’s friends evidence this longing. They have lost a dear friend. They care enough about her to ask Peter to come to her bedside. And Tabitha’s care for her friends was reciprocal. She cared about all of them, as her gifts of clothing and her good works indicate.
This depth of commitment may seem simple enough, but it is actually quite elusive in modern life. We often substitute social niceties, even at church, for true community. But in Joppa friendships ran deep and were heartfelt.
Deep personal friendships always involve acts of trust, honesty, vulnerability, and faith, which in turn build communities that care, even in the midst of tragic loss. Faith that has the power to affect lives, even dramatically, takes root in these honest and trusting communities.
The friends bear witness to God’s providential care for those in need, especially for those who have no other recourse. As a member of a faithful community while in seminary I learned that faith is never a private affair but meets our deep need for belonging when it is a part of an honest community. I hope you find or build yours.
Jesus, help me build friendships that will encourage and enliven my faith. Amen.
Whitney Simpson offers a wide-open doorway into embodied practice and awakens us to the long-held wisdom of our tradition that our bodies are sacred places where God meets us and dwells. Fully Human, Fully Divine is a true Christmas gift!”
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