Once upon a time there was a Super Bowl party…
A few weeks ago my husband and I stayed up late to watch a Monday night football game between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots. The matchup between the Panthers and the Patriots is a memorable one for us which made watching this game extra special.
When Chris and I were newly married we lived in Charlotte, NC, and even though we now live in Michigan we both have a special place in our hearts for the Panthers.
Throughout our time in Charlotte, Chris and I were a part of a church group called Banyan. A mix of college students, singles, young married couples, and couples with kid, Banyan was our first taste of community.
Each year, this mixed and mangled group of friends gathered together to watch the Super Bowl. With tons of chili and tons of delicious desserts we ate, and laughed, and cheered for our teams of choice.
In 2004 the Panthers and the Patriots faced off in the Super Bowl, and It. Was. Epic! While most people remember this particular Super Bowl for the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, I remember this Super Bowl because of the friends we were with.
I can hardly believe this unforgettable game took place almost ten years ago. As Chris and I watched the recent Monday night matchup, memories of that night and of this special group of friends, came rushing back mind.
In 2006 Chris and I moved away from our Banyan friends, relocating first to Virginia and then to Michigan. We still stay in close contact with many of our friends from Charlotte and we’ve also been blessed to add precious communities from VA and MI to our abounding list of friends.
Still, there’s nothing quite like your first love… or your first community. We have been richly blessed with a community of friends in each place we’ve lived, but somehow I think each community we’ve experienced has roots that trace back to Banyan.
Perhaps you’re like me, thankful to be a part of a vibrant and thriving community. If so, might I encourage you to do everything you can to keep that community alive? Nurture it. Serve it. Invite others in and help it grow.
Perhaps you’re searching for a community, a place to belong. Perhaps the well of friendship in your life is running a tad bit dry. If so, might I encourage you not to give up? Keep searching. Pray for God to lead you. Look for and take advantage of opportunities to connect, reach out, jump in.
Because community is central to the very heart of God. And it’s central to the life God has for us.
Think of your favorite stories. Whether it’s the classic fairy tales we read as children, or the movies, the shows, the stories we love, community, fellowship, friendship, love and loyalty lie at the heart of every noble quest, of every hard fought life.
Frodo had Samwise, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn.
Aslan had Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.
Dorothy had the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion (she also had a great pair shoes…but that’s another blog.)
The list goes on and on.
This life, it can feel like a quest, and maybe that’s because it is one. Full of peril, adventure, romance, beauty, this life is a quest to find joy, to find peace, to find God in the midst of all that hunts us.
When the The Fellowship of the Ring, was in the theaters, the movie trailer described Frodo’s journey by stating:
“Fate has chosen him. A fellowship will protect them. Evil will hunt them.”
Our lives are no different. Evil does hunt us, each and every day, and just like Frodo, we all need a fellowship to protect us, to encircle us, to show Christ to us, as we journey through life together.
Sweet friends, may you wake up this day to the fairy tale found in the heart of a Godly community. May you find yourself equipped for the quest of life (or a really good football game) with a band of brothers, a community of friends, a fellowship of the heart.