The Gift of Community

Tim BrusterAs we near the end of our “Gifts of the Dark Wood” Lenten worship series, I want to think with you about “The Gift of Community.” And, as we begin Holy Week this Sunday with our Palm Sunday worship experience, one of the most important things we can remember is that no matter how alone we may feel, there are always people traveling their own paths in the Dark Wood who can help us.

Jesus traveled his own Dark Wood during his last week on earth with his closest disciples — the very earliest Christian faith community — who traveled with him on the road leading down from the Mount of Olives. And when this group of disciples began rejoicing, praising God “with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen,” some of the Pharisees from the crowd told Jesus to hush them: “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!” And then Jesus answered them, showing us his own recognition of the Gift of Community in what he knew was the beginning of his own, ultimate Dark Wood experience: “He answered, ‘I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.’”

Those gathered with him, those who lined the road and shouted “Hosanna!” — which means “save now!”— and those who walked the road with him were a community. They were walking a dark road that would grow darker throughout the week — a road that would end with a cross. They were a community that would support one another through that dark week and the even greater darkness of Friday and Saturday when Jesus, their friend, teacher, and Lord, lay dead and sealed in a tomb. They were not alone in that Dark Wood and neither are we. We have the Holy Spirit, the Unexpected Love, who shows up in the Dark Wood to comfort and strengthen us. But not only that, we have the Gift of Community.

Wouldn’t you love to have a community like that around you when you’re navigating your own Dark Wood experience? The truth is you can and you do, even if you don’t recognize it right away.

So here are the questions for us to ponder together as we approach Palm Sunday worship: As you think of your own Dark Woods times,

Who traveled with you?
Was it a person or group who has traveled this Dark Wood before?
Were there guides or mentors you met along the way who have helped you find your path?
Were these family members or your closest friends?
Was it a community of faith that helped guide you?

I look forward to exploring The Gift of Community with you this Sunday in the Sanctuary.

Grace and Peace,




Dr. Tim Bruster,
Senior Pastor



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