Lovely to see you over Easter and I hope you have a great time on your travels!
While the 40 day journey through Lent is over, we are now in another 40 day season! The time between Jesus’ resurrection at Easter and his Ascension into heaven. During this time he appeared on a number of occasions to his disciples and followers before finally returning to the Father.
As I pondered on this and considered what it must have been like for the disciples during that time, I was struck by their sense of community and belonging to each other, as they came to terms with the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection and his appearances to them.
This led me to thinking about what it means to belong/belonging/belongingness! Belongingness is a human emotional need. It drives us to seek out and develop long-lasting and stable relationships and it motivates us to take part in social activities.
According to the Collins Dictionary belong means, ‘to be bound to (a person, place, or club) by ties of affection, dependence, allegiance, or membership’ and of course we use the word with reference to our possessions and property too! Informally the word can also be used, to refer to people being suitable or acceptable, especially in a social sense.
We all belong to various circles of people: family, friends, church, colleagues at work, interest groups, professional groups, Facebook groups, Whatsapp groups…the list goes on and on! Some we find ourselves in automatically, others we have chosen to be part of.
I would like to invite you to find a pen and a notepad. Take some time and sketch out your current social circles: friends, family, colleagues, church and any sports teams you are part of. Some of these may overlap, others may be totally disconnected.
- Are there any circles that you would like to be more connected to?
- Are there any circles that you would rather not be part of?
- Are there any new circles that you could join?
- How do you feel about belonging to each of the circles you have drawn?
- Which circles are life-giving for you?
- Which circles do you find draining or difficult?
- Which is your favourite circle? Reflect on why this is so.
- Which circle is most challenging for you? Reflect on why this is so.
Now take some time to listen to God for his perspective on your circles and receive his encouragement and wisdom for your participation in them.
In my experience these circles ebb and flow with the seasons and stages of life. Some provide us with a deep sense of belonging and connectedness, others are more transitory in their duration and impact.
Over the coming weeks we will look at the word BELONG letter by letter, as follows:
B for Be
E for Exit
L for Lost
O for Outdoors
N for Neglect
G for Gone
As you travel you will no doubt meet new people, and develop new circles!