Maybe community isn’t what brought you to Covenant, but everyone at one point or another has heard about the community here. It’s something that everyone loves, the tight-knit family we have on this mountain. As fellow believers we have an amazing opportunity to cultivate a godly, sincere, honest, and loving community, but this is not going to happen all by itself.
I know of many brothers and sisters that were discouraged by finding a less welcoming community than they had expected. Treating others the way we want to be treated is something that is thrown around a lot, especially in a Christian community, but it is not always a reality. If we are not actively seeking Christ and his peace, then the community we have here will fall apart.
There is no denying that there are different personalities between buildings and areas of study. It’s not very hard to strike up an argument, friendly or otherwise, about which building is the best and why. For fear of offending, I will not list the different stereotypes of the buildings, but you either know what they are or what you think they are. The same goes for the different majors. Students at Covenant are artists, musicians, scientists, mathematicians, community developers, and this list contains some very different types of people. Besides these different divisions, different personalities are composed of different home lives, talents, family situations, passions, tastes, etc. This makes it much easier for us to simply find those we are similar to and stick with them for the four years we spend on this mountain. However, as a community who has claimed Christ as their savior and king, there is one thing that unites all of us together; it is stronger than any personal preference or opinion. It is the love of Christ that unites us travelers through this earthly pilgrimage.
Therefore the choice is ours: we can base our relationships on similar likes and dislikes,similar opinions, or other earthly things, or we can found our relationships the way that our Father has founded his relationship with us: on our relationship with his son. As those who have accepted the gospel in all its glory, we reside at the cross on our knees together only by his mercy and grace, not because we are at all entitled to it.
We can only create proper relationships with others once we understand God’s relationship with us. Our Father in heaven sees us as precious, worthy, and desirable. He loves us unconditionally. This is the mindset we should have toward all others, especially those in the household of faith.
So, brothers and sisters, understanding that we all kneel together at the cross, overwhelmed by his love, can we not see each other with the eyes of Christ and treat each other with the love of our savior? Is our first instinct not to love, and encourage, and honestly pursue each other with the love of the Lord as a result of our understanding of the gospel? It is so easy make a joke at another’s expense or to speak rudely under the veil of sass. We could just as easily smile, encourage, and sincerely ask someone how they are doing, whether they live in your building, have your major, your interests, or not, because they share your savior and the image of our Lord. On the flipside, it is easy to misinterpret a snarky remark, an unhappy look, or a less-than-positive comment, and take it as a personal affront. We must have the same attitude of respect and love in these situations as well. The effort to cultivate community at Covenant must be taken up by each of us, and must come from the desire to exemplify the love of our Lord. We are busy students with different struggles, who experience suffering and hard days that knock us out. However, our united efforts to glorify our Father can simply mean talking to the kid you don’t know that sits next to you in class,writing a good friend an encouraging note, or just smiling while making awkward eye contact.
Though the sentiment is cliched, these little actions can seriously change a rough Monday into a bearable one. They remind us of our worth when we’re struggling to believe that our worth is in Christ alone. They remind us of God’s love when we’re struggling to accept its existence. They remind us—in one moment—of the gospel’s truth when we lose sight of its beauty. Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us care for, inquire after, and listen to each other, creating a community into which we can welcome any lover of the Lord with open arms.