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  • Writer's pictureBarry D. Mills, Junior Warden, Evangelist

Longing for belonging...

One of the most powerful themes of the Christian tradition is one of being connected and have a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves. We see this in our devotion to friends, family, country, service organizations, clubs, our places of employment, schools, and of course our churches.

Our sense of well being may come from achievement, doing good works, living a good life, bing a good son/daughter or parent, etc. But, these success are only given vitality in context of our belonging to and commitment to these institutions.

But, with all of these opportunities for connectedness, we often find, that even in success, there seems to be something missing. Too often we see the things we place our hopes in fail us: families fall apart, careers disappoint us, even our churches are the chief architect of our pain and discomfort.

There seems to be in us a need to belong and be born up by something larger than any of these, something that transcends and unifies them into a whole. The "missing piece" has been called The God Shaped Hole." A space in each of us that only the divine, the true source and ground of of our being can fill.

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

- Blaise Pascal,PenséesVII(425)

This aching need, a longing for belong can be experienced in relation to a higher power, in community of caring people. We seek this experience in times of sorrow, uncertainty, loss, anxiety and in our profound loneliness...

I have heard many people express the current frustration with the current crisis of a pandemic, the uncertainty of our public life, the division and anger surrounding the unfolding of events, and the fear of the future. Some have said, "If God is truly 'in control' why hasn't/doesn't he DO something. Well, Jesus, and scripture remind and assure us that he has, he has given us one another to help and comfort each other in his son, Jesus Christ's name. We are the answer to the longing for belonging.

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