I just wrapped up another online series, Belonging Is A Choice_Racial Awareness for Social Flourishing. My awareness widened as I listened to others share their experiences within the context of their own story and ethnicity.
We gathered via zoom for 5 Wednesday's over lunch this past September to belong to one another. Wednesday's at noon was by far the highlight of my week. Why? I believe it was because I was connecting with others of different cultural experiences, ways of thinking, and motivations at a deeper level than social media posting, poking, and liking. I experienced a deep connection and bond with each participant though we were thousands of miles apart.
Zoom break-out rooms added a beneficial touch as we partnered off to share how our Enneagram style influences our personal way of belonging in our everyday life. We felt safe enough to get vulnerable about this important gut-level need to belong with those we had just met for the first time online, from different countries and cultures. As a facilitator, I too enjoyed the group spiritual companioning as I chose to share from the context of my own story as well. We all companioned each other, giving witness to the deepest longings of our souls with smiles, nods, zoom hand waving, and tears.
Why tears you may ask? Strange and odd, but I believe it was because we are all yearning to regain a sense of belonging that has been lost in our pandemic social-restrictive culture that purports shaming, alienation, and isolation. We responded to the invitation to belong to one another, even if it was only for one hour a week for one month.
We kicked off our series by remembering that belonging is God's ideal for kingdom flourishing. Our loving Creator demonstrated his intention of belonging to all creation by sending his Son to redeem us back to his original ideal of belonging before our foremother and father inflicted disconnection and division. But thank God, not enough for God to call it quits on us. He never stopped belonging to you and me, He just put the ball in our court and awaits our response.
We are each called to belong to Christ by looking to him as the provision and means of reconnection back to the Father, forgiving us of our willing separation by trusting Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul said it well when he emphasized, "receive the love God has for you - be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20). Our heavenly Father initiates belonging and awaits our response. Only then can we belong to ourselves by showing self-compassion and embracing our true essence to then have the capacity to love and belong to one another.
Thank God he didn't leave us alone in all this reconnecting, he gave us the gift of his Holy Spirit. We can now belong in God's kingdom, flourishing and thriving as he intended. Now that is good news to sore ears!
And because of what Christ did, all you others too, who heard the Good News about how to be saved, and trusted Christ, were marked as belonging to Christ by the Holy Spirit, who long ago had been promised to all of us Christians. His presence within us is God’s guarantee that he really will give us all that he promised; and the Spirit’s seal upon us means that God has already purchased us and that he guarantees to bring us to himself. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.
~ Ephesians 1: 13-14 (Living Bible)