During our time in Ireland, one of the guys in our group wrote a funny song that talked about all the people in our group. But the chorus went, "Everyone here in the ISP is one big, happy family. We share in the joy and we share in the tears. We talk about Community until it's coming out of our ears!" The best part was, it was true! We did talk about community all the time- what it should look like, what the definition of community is, and how that should impact our interactions with each other. Yet for all our discussion, we never really came to a consensus on the topic. But after less than a week here at Shevet, I have a clearer idea of what community can be. Why? Because the entire goal here is to serve our neighbor.
Today I went through our official orientation and was given a packet with all the basic information I need to know for the next three months. But my favorite part was on page 4....
" Respect, born out of a love for Jesus and each other, is the key to successfully living and working in community. The following acronym helps to explain seven basic aspects of respect:
R- Reliability. 'Do not be slothful in business, but be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.' (Romans 12:11)
E- Edification. 'So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don't drag them down by finding fault.' (Romans 14:19)
S- Servanthood. 'Serve one another in love.' (Galationas 5:13)
P- Positive Attitude. 'Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.' (Colossians 3:2)
E- Excellence. 'Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve kings.' (Proverbs 22:29)
(C- ???? I guess they skipped this one!)
T- Timely. 'Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism.' (Proverbs 18:9)"
It's not that my fellow ISP students didn't understand the importance of all of these things, I think it was the idea of completely focusing on others instead of just ourself... Something we all have problems with. I'm also not saying that they have it perfect here, but I will say, they are daily striving to get better at it. What does this look like? Simple things...
It looks like doing your own dishes so someone else doesn't have to, but if a co-worker forgot to do theirs, you do it for them without complaint.
It means offering words of encouragement, even across language barriers. This can be done with a smile, a hug, or a poorly pronounced word that is read out of a dictionary.
It means studying the Bible and praying together every morning so that the body of Christ is continually built up.
It means giving up something you like, if it will cause a brother to stumble.
It means all this and a hundred other things. It means that when the word "community" is mentioned here, it is not greeted with rolled eyes and groans, but with smiles and questions as how to better live it out. Here, community not only flows out of my ears, but also my heart.