“The Word became flesh…and moved into the neighborhood.” John 1:14 (MSG)
Recently, I encountered a devotional prompt that invites readers to ask God to show them their journey thus far, a contemplative exercise in understanding how God intimately influences our lives and keeps careful record of our stories.
I knelt down in the spot where the Father and I usually meet, and I asked Him to tell me my story. As soon as I did, it was as though a movie made of memories began to play in my mind. I was remembering my life. Year by year, I revisited many moments, small blips in the timeline of my life that somehow, altogether, tell the story of me. I saw birthdays and chickenpox, our house in Mexico, the plane we flew in when we moved to the US, playing outside with friends, graduations and my ordination. I saw my church and my family and I relived my wedding. I saw accomplishments and failures, laughter and tears, joy and suffering.
How long this went on I’m not exactly sure, but the realization the Lord was bringing me to struck me and nearly took my breath away. It wasn’t the events and memories that had marked me. It was the people.
I saw this decades-long thread of people, one after the other, loving me and pouring into me, shaping me and marking me forever. I saw how much love I had experienced and been given through so many people. How empowered I was by teachers and pastors. How much I had learned from my parents and I saw the impact of the affections of friends.
As I revisited in my mind the communities of people I was immersed in, it became clear that for the most part, the shaping and formation that took place was not always intentional, in fact it often took place in the most ordinary of interactions, and that is a beautiful thing. People didn’t even have to try, yet God provided for me so much through them. He shined His light over and over again in my life. Out of His grace and kindness, He was taking care of me all along through those He brought across my path. In an instant, they became miracles to me.
So I wondered if there were any people in the world whose mental movie reel would perhaps include me, unintentionally being used by God to love, rescue, empower, or help shape them.
And that begged a convicting question: what would happen if we actually tried?
I believe you will find the answer to that question in the pages of this issue of The Cry. Intentional community lies at the heart of Word Made Flesh; people who carry the revelation that community changes everything and who live out the mission to establish places of intentional love and togetherness in His name; people whose lives have been transformed by God through others who just wanted to serve and share every bit of the Gospel with those experiencing great need.
In the process, our folks have themselves found community and have been touched and changed by those they went to serve.
Having established communities around the world, WMF folks are doing life together with people who find themselves in extraordinarily vulnerable situations. They’re doing it on purpose because this was the model given to us by Christ. He came to us and dwelt among us, not by accident but by divine purpose, because He loved us.
And He came, communing with us and inviting us into a deep fellowship with Him, the Father, the Spirit, and with others, altering humanity’s story forever.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
What joy fills my heart at the thought of widows and orphans, families and entire communities getting to one day play the movie reel of their lives, their journeys thus far, and remember how Jesus found and loved them through intentional people who moved into the neighborhood and simply brought light where there was none before — this is true community.
Editor of The Cry