Common interests bring us together.  I have friends I doubt I would even know if we didn’t have a mutual love of running, and many of my friendships have grown deeper through the miles we’ve shared.  I’ve bonded with strangers at starting lines, finish lines, and all the places in between.  I don’t always know their names, but our shared experience and the mutual understanding of how we got there established a connection.  No matter what your passion is, it’s fun and inspiring to share it with another who has the same interest.  Knowing there are others who can identify with the struggles and celebrations surrounding something I love is comforting, affirming, and a source of strength.  I know runners can be quite zealous in their shared love of runningif you’ve ever heard runners discussing their experiences, I’m sure you wondered when it would end.  At least, that’s how I read the expression on my husband’s face each time he patiently endures it.  Our enthusiasm about our commonality probably stems from being called “crazy” by many outside our running circle. 

And all who believed were together and had all things in common   Acts 2:44

Out in the big, bad world, where a faith-driven perspective can be unpopular – and even “crazy” to some – I’m not always strong enough to express my Christian view.  That nasty temptation of worrying about how I appear to the world can take over, and it reminds me how thankful I am for my faith community – my church, Bible study groups, and all those with whom I share camaraderie in faith.  My faith family provides support and encouragement and inspires the desire to give back to it and help make it stronger.  I don’t know everyone at church, but I believe they’re probably there for the same reasons I am – to thank and praise God, learn more about Him, and come together in our shared faith – and I feel a bond with them.  I don’t want to hide within a safe circle of others with whom I share similar beliefs, and I’m grateful for the blessings outside my community that enrich my life and faith.  I do, however, want to celebrate my faith family, draw strength from it, and take part of it with me as I go beyond its reach.  It would be awesome if I would be just as zealous about a faith connection with another as I am about  a running connection …  more proof I will never run out of things to improve.  It makes me smile when I see those I feel connected to through mutual passions, and I’m thankful for the sense of fellowship that surrounds the things I love.  I don’t know what heaven will be like, but I believe there’s one thing everyone there will have in common, and I consider it the most important thing of all.

Dear God, please remind me to celebrate and support my faith community as it gives me great strength.