Reading: Acts 9: 36-43
A true community has many benefits. First of all, it fills our basic need to belong. But it also goes far beyond this. When we are part of a faith community, it allows us to serve together to build the kingdom of God. Together we find much encouragement and strength. Together we can more easily express our faith. Communities of faith can both serve each other and can go out into the world to serve.
A true community of faith also shares we each other. This does require a level of trust and vulnerability, so it is something that develops and deepens over time. Joys are lifted up and celebrated; burdens are shared and carried by many. A true community also shares in the small things and in the daily struggles. There is an increasing level of accountability that grows and facilitates our day to day living. When we can be honest and vulnerable with each other we lift one another up in prayer, we check in on how the battle is going, we sharpen and encourage one another.
Tabitha and her community shared many of these traits of true community. Tabitha shared her talents and resources with those near her by making clothes and other items. She not only helped with their basic needs but poured love into what she gave. This is just one example of how Tabitha cared for her friends and fellow widows. At her passing, it brought great grief to her faith community as she was central to the group and the bonds of community that had developed. She was the one all sought out in times of need or in a crisis.
Peter must have sensed all of this as he entered into the house that day. Sensing the community’s deep need for her at this particular time, God, through Peter, restored her to them. It was an extraordinary act of love. It reveals His love for us and how much He values community because of how it helps us grow in our faith and service to others. May we each seek to find and experience and live within a true community of faith.