God’s love is the heart of community.
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“We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
1 John 1:3 New Living Translation
Thousands of people rise early on Labor Day in Colorado Springs and head to Memorial Park to watch hot air balloons launch into the crisp morning sky. Children are brought in their pajamas, the aroma of coffee fills the air, and more than a few of us bring our cameras and cell phones to capture the spectacle of these balloons effortlessly ascending into the heavens.
This Labor Day was different from others. It appeared to the untrained eye that the conditions were perfect for the balloonists. Yet, the winds aloft were not ideal, so the pilots filled their balloons but kept them grounded until they were given the okay to launch.
The gathering of these balloons above the thousands of people gathered on the grass was a sight not often seen. Finally, the okay was given to launch and cheers began to fill the air. Balloons headed over Prospect Lake to perform a splash and dash, dipping their gondolas in the cool morning water before heading to the sky.
Except for a few of us obnoxious photographers, people kindly moved about trying not to get in each other’s way. There was the occasional, “Sorry,” when someone accidentally ran into another person because their eyes were turned skyward. This was a picture of community.
God has called us into community by our faith in Jesus Christ. John experienced this community with his friends. Their fellowship with God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ was the heart of their community. This was a fellowship rooted in God’s love.
I’m drawn to this picture because of the “love” balloon standing in the middle of the gathered community. It is the love of God in Christ that holds the Christian community together.
God’s love isn’t controlled by our definition of love. His love allowed Job to suffer. His love allows us to suffer yet find hope in his promises; his promise that all things work together for the good of those who love him; his promise that one day all tears will be wiped away.
Lord Jesus, the depth of your love for us is beyond our understanding. May this love continually bind us together as we seek to find ways to express this love to others. Amen.
Text and Picture Copyright Douglas P Brauner