Exciting new ministries and events are taking place here at Sugar Creek! And we want everyone to participate in the excitement. So, in this month’s article, I offer an important reminder as to just how important each person is to the life of the church. The following is a meditation I presented some years ago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate the original source used for this meditation. Nevertheless, with my apologies to the author, here is a great way to think of the community web of faith of which you are an essential member.
If you’ve ever accidently walked through a big spider’s web, you know how those delicate strands can be very sticky and clingy. Getting a spider web out of your hair or your clothing can be tough to do.
The Strength of the Web
A spider’s web is an impressive little building project. The support strands linked together with ring after ring of circles is a remarkable sight. Scientists have determined that the chemical make-up of an ordinary strand of spider’s web is 5 to 10 times stronger than steel, stronger than the material that holds up our tallest skyscrapers or supports our longest bridges.
When you combine the strength of each strand with the engineering design of a spider’s web, you have the strongest structure known in nature. In fact, someone once computed that a pencil-thick strand of spider’s silk could stop a Boeing 747 in mid-flight.
Another structure imitates the inter-woven strength of a spider’s web. This structure duplicates the flexibility of a spider’s web so well that it can stretch beyond time itself – flinging its web-like strands back into the past and shooting them into the future. This structure – this intricately woven web – is called the community of faith and the Web-Weaver is the Holy Spirit, as it weaves a web of relationships among persons, and even across generations, through the power and variety of individual spiritual gifts.
You have been given unique gifts, which affect the relationships of everyone else in the community where you live. In fact, you are where you are today because others in your community faithfully use their spiritual gifts from God to love you and to take care of you, and because persons in your life believe in you and sacrifice for you.
Using Your Gifts
Think for a minute of one person in your community web (your life) who loves you, believes in you and uses their gifts for you. It can be anyone from your past or present. It may be someone who is still alive or who has died. Stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for that person sometime today.
Yarn stretched out like a spider’s web in the middle of a circle of people demonstrates how the variety of spiritual gifts that each person has and uses within their community binds everyone together into one interwoven web of faith. So, if you have a hard time believing that anything and everything you do affects everyone else around you, then imagine all the people in your community are standing around you in a circle, each holding a piece of the same yarn. Now imagine you pulling on and stretching the yarn as you fall down or fall away from the circle. Can you see how everyone else in the circle is affected by what you’re doing or by what’s happening to you?
Also, part of the genius of a spider’s web is that it can transmit information to the spider whenever and wherever it is touched. The vibration of each person’s touch is immediately transmitted across the strands to everyone else who is part of the same web. The same is true for you every time you choose to do something (good or bad, kind or cruel, helpful or hurtful). Thus, remember that whatever you do, whether you realize it or not, will eventually affect everyone else within your community web of faith.
Finally, keep in mind that God not only gives you unique spiritual gifts, but also God gives you the free will to choose whether to use your gifts to help build a strong and loving faith community or ignore those gifts and help tear apart the intricate and delicate web of faith, which the Holy Spirit spun just for you. I pray you will choose wisely.
Oh, and one more thing, when it seems everyone else in your faith community has stopped loving you and believing in you, always remember there is one member of your community who will never stop loving you or believing in you. That someone is, of course, Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior. Just a thought.