FF40 – Day 7 on Community | From Christy Ridings

DAY 7 – Community

Proverbs 22:24-25 | Galatians 6:2, 10 | 1 John 1:7

Just ‘the tip of the iceberg’….

If you ask any seasoned sailor of arctic waters they would likely tell you the
most dangerous thing about an iceberg is not what can be seen above the
water’s surface. It is that approximately 75% of the iceberg’s mass is not
visible to the naked eye. It lies below the water’s surface. These massive
features are what make ships vulnerable and have the potential to do
enormous damage.

I think, in many ways, human beings share the same characteristics. There is
a great deal of each of us that lies below the surface. It is often what makes
us who we are. It is also the part that makes us vulnerable. We tend to
navigate our relationships much like icy waters, fearing what we cannot see
and protecting ourselves from possible emotional collisions.

In 1 John we see, however, that the light of God illuminates even those
hidden parts that lie below the surface. They are exposed for our
communities to see. We are called to live in openness with one another. It
is a task that is easier said than done. Our tendency is to keep those honest
parts of ourselves hidden. We allow them to exist away from the view of
others – in the darkness below the surface.

During your first year in college, you will have many opportunities to
connect. You will find others who share your interests. You will find new
things you are passionate about. You will, however, have a precious few
opportunities to dip below the surface of yourself and share your most
significant aspects with others. They are rare because engaging in this type
of community requires risk. We must allow ourselves to expose our true
nature to others who may or may not respond in kind. But scripture tells us
that God’s illumination provides a way for us to be enlightened with others.
His light provides a way for us to connect more deeply.

So I challenge you as a freshman to not shy away from the risk of
vulnerability this year – with God or with others. It is uncomfortable and
challenging but most often produces meaningful and lasting community. It
is the kind of community that exists in the light – not within the darkness of
superficiality. It is below the surface we find that we belong.

Christy Ridings
Associate University Minister, Director of Spiritual Formation

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