Yesterday I asked one of our elementary classes and their teachers to join me in the middle school lobby for a conversation about community. We sat in a circle so that all the students were able to easily see one another. There is something powerful about a circle, it gives us a strong sense of community almost right away… I love it. The purpose of the time together (and we’ll have more) was to create, in each one of them, a sense of ownership, a sense of belonging in their community. I tried to stress to them that the health of the group hinges on the social/emotional health of the individual, meaning we have a responsibility to not only our group, but to each individual. Before we started we opened with prayer and then we discussed the guidelines for operating in this circle. Two of the guidelines were “speak from the heart” and “listen from the heart.” The students did a great job of articulating what that meant to them. One of the verses we focused on was John 13:34-35, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” The question, I think, that is generated from this verse is, do your friends know you are a follower of Christ by how you show love for one another? God created us to be in a loving community and we are called to work within that community to meet the individual human desire for love and belonging (part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). For example, when thinking about an “issue” at recess, it is not the teacher’s or my responsibility to “fix the problem” but the communities’ responsibility to resolve the issue in a kind, loving, direct and grace-filled way. Remember, the teachers and I are apart of that community too. Genesis 2:18, says that God created man to be social because He is a social God. The time we spent together with those elementary students was a time spent in community, in relationship and in worship. I continue to pray for each one of our students as they seek to find their place in their community of friends, in their class, in their school, in the neighborhood and in God’s world. I pray the same prayer for each one of you too. God continues to walk along each one of us as we seek to find our place in the Denver Christian community. I shall rest in that fact.