Last weekend, a conversation with a friend after service became a stepping stone to a 4-hour long extravaganza on God’s grace in our lives. A relaxing Sunday evening with friends became much more than that; it became a powerful example of “cruciform community.”
Megan and I have known each other for a few years, originally meeting through SLCF. Within the past year, I have been able to spend more time with Megan and her husband Matt and am very thankful for their friendship. Our friendship took a dive to a deeper level due to this aforementioned extravaganza. I would not even call our friendship “surface-y” before: we have always talked about what God is teaching us and have had many meaningful discussions. This particular Sunday evening though, it all began by discussing our stories of how God saved us. And it turned into a magnificent display of God’s grace and patience in our lives.
I don’t remember the last time I truly lost track of time like that. Suddenly it was four hours later and I sat stunned—at the reminder of God’s goodness to me, his patience towards me, and the amazing results of being open. In the midst of our stories, we were able to share not only our past but current areas of struggle and even realize that some of our struggles were the same! Previous barriers of pride and self-sufficiency did not block our way because we met at the Cross. We met knowing that yes, we are both sinners and are far from perfect but we are new creations in Christ! We are not righteous on our own, but we are covered by the righteousness of Christ.
So often I do just want to appear as the “good Christian” even in my friendships, but how is God glorified through that? There is freedom in doing as James 5 says to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another. Then we are able to encourage and “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). This quote from Paul Tripp should be familiar:
"I move toward you not because I trust you. I move toward you knowing that we are both broken and this is potentially messy. I move toward you because I trust the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is hope for us."
This story is just one example, and I have a feeling there are many other moments of Cruciform Community occurring among us Kossuthians.