And beyond that, people were created to be in deep relationship with other people. Not just walking on the same planet as them. Not just living in the same house as them. Not just working beside them. No, instead there seems to be something within each of us that cries out to give and receive a love that pierces through our loneliness and cracks open transparency. To love with nothing else in mind except pure otherness. This kind of love relationship removes the "Me" and replaces it with a "We."
God is love. Therefore, the best kind of love that we can give to people and receive from people is God himself. God doesn't look at the outward appearance. He doesn't pick and choose who is worthy of his relationship. He doesn't have favorites. He doesn't pick the friends that will make him look better. He loves because he is the essence of love itself. He looks at the heart. He sees that at the heart of every human is a need for love and a need for other humans to spur on that love. He made it that way. People were created to be in deep relationship with other people. For encouragement. For assurance. For reminder. For truth.
There is not better place to be reminded of this necessity in our lives than on a small mattress that is shoved into the back of a small van. Driving from place to place, meeting new people, engaging in new cultures is beautiful...but so lonely. We missed long-term friendship. This GO lifestyle has created within us such a great appreciation for being still. We have been in Tacoma, WA for about 5 months. We were not planning on this at all. We were not even wanting this...but God knew we needed it.
We needed to form some friendships that would hold us accountable and push us forward. That is exactly what He is giving us through The Pathway. They demonstrate everyday what it means to be a family that carries one another burdens. There is realness and transparency that we have never seen at a church before. Church here is not on Sunday mornings. Church here happens all day, everyday as individuals live out the Gospel of Christ in the midst of this very broken city. The church is literally paying rent for people, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and fighting to ensure that every person is taken care of. No one rich person is taking care of all of the needs...multiple people are literally sacrificing all that they have for others. It is Acts 2:42-45 happening all over again. Everybody is screwed up. But the beautiful part is that everybody admits that they are screwed up. It is real. It is church, alive. It is people being with people...in the midst of each other's struggles. It is exactly what we needed without even knowing it was what we wanted.
We have watched this church grow in just 5 months in crazy ways. We are learning everyday what it means to be in real, tangible, life-changing, heart-shaking, community. We have cried with each other, laughed with each other, laughed at each other, and been annoyed by each other. We have seen the frustrations towards God, towards this world, and towards one another. But it is all drenched in real love. And this past Sunday we watched as so many of our friends got baptized for the first time. The church erupted in cheers every time somebody else got baptized...and we could literally feel the spirit reaffirming our Amens. New life is happening here in Tacoma, Wa...and I think a lot of it has to do with people from this church really, genuinely being with people.