I'm tired of saying goodbye and am afraid when saying hello.
This pastoral paranoia has grown over the years as I've witnessed the increasing callousness in which people drop in and out of one another's lives. As a child of divorce, I'm particularly attuned to the drama and trauma associated with vow breaking, home splitting and irreconcilable relationships.
When I came to faith in Christ I was deeply attracted to the idea of family and community. Reconciliation with God, and subsequently with one another through grace and faith was foundational in redeeming my hope for healthy relationships, home and marriage.
It didn't take too long inside the church to realize salvation doesn't save us from sin. There's always a snake in the garden. The blame game is still going on at the tree and spilled brother blood cries from the ground. Being together is as difficult as it was in Eden.
I've tried to comfort myself at times with the words of the Apostle John. "These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us" (1 John 2:19).
But honestly, it never seems to soothe the ache of loss, denial, betrayal and abandonment. We are seeing a church culture that is plagued by an allergic reaction to commitment and increasingly more wounded by a divorce rate rivaling people without faith. We hug, kiss and blather platitudes about love, forgiveness and community then jettison our commitments when our expectations aren't met, we're hurt or the season of testing grows too long.
Jesus said the world would know we were his disciples by our love for one another but by the looks of things there isn't much discipleship going on these days.
I'm starting to wonder if I really know what love is when it comes to community. I hope to witness something that reflects the kingdom I pray to come, but each year leaves me struggling with more and more disillusionment.