When Hannah’s cell was reflecting on their life together before multiplying this week, people had some interesting things to say.
I come one way (to the meeting) and leave another.
I didn’t think I would find a community like this.
I have had trouble forming deep relationships since college and I have found that here.
You loved me in my grumpiness.
These all resonated with me personally, but the Christian church has not always had a reputation for acceptance. When Constantine aligned state power and government with Christianity it became more visibly about rules than anything else. When this got translated into American culture, it wasn’t much better. Christianity got twisted into a new standards of morality and wealth and individualism that seem far from Jesus’s life and teaching. It’s no wonder that mostly young people today are opting out of faith all together.
What the church is actually about is bearing one another’s burdens, forgiving one another, and demonstrating world-changing love together. It is more about transformed hearts that become actions than it is about the particular belief systems in our heads. A cell group is living a life together, not conforming to a program or religion.
The way that most of us get transformed is by experiencing the love of God through others. I’m happy for these reminders that Circle of Hope is a people who are serious about doing that. Not everyone has such a glowing experience, but it is likely to happen when we can show up and be open to sharing the love and faith we’ve got (not just what we wish we had and what we wish others had.) Most of us can be pretty grumpy on any given day, and we probably don’t feel as cute as this puppy about it. Probably the most radical thing we can do is consider that God loves us even like that, and others might too. Together we can spread a lot more acceptance that leads to transformation in our region than we can do alone.