It’s 11:27, and I’m siting on the back row of my church. Even though I’m sitting on the back pew, the place typically referred to as the place where the “I have no one to sit with” people sit, I am not alone. Even though I’m in the back, I am deeply immersed in one of the most beautiful gifts given to us by God – community. 

Oak Mountain Presbyterian ChurchAt the first service, I sat with a friend from school and her family, a family I would now consider to be my Birmingham family. At Sunday School, I sat with a different friend and met two new ones. Right now, I sit in the middle of the late service in the middle of the back pew, filled with friends from my Life Group. These people are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and with them I find a deep sense of community. And even though I’m the youngest of the group, I am still one of them. 

For years, I had lacked a church community and no matter how hard I sought it, I could never find it. But when one person invited me to her church, I slowly began to find a community and later when another friend invited me to join their Life Group, I found a second community, one that I have fallen in love with. 

But what I still stand in awe of is the reality that I found community through an invitation to enter into community and not through trying to force community in an impossible circumstance. I can’t help but think that this is so much like the Gospel. God invites us into community with Him and then He sends out His People to invite others to commune both with Him and with one another. And in this sort of community, I find my joy and hope.