I’ve come to believe most (maybe all) things we truly engage in are about encounter and community. Take sports or a hobby…we have a first encounter or introduction, most often followed by support like training, coordination, events, i.e. games. Experienced in person or online, community is affirming.
The same is true with our faith. To be truly engaged, there’s been an encounter…with Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Encounter can then also be one on one with others. Examples of community are worshipping together (for Catholics…Mass), small groups, like-minded friends, ministry or mission work, etc. All are affirming.
I have the privilege of working at Franciscan University of Steubenville, in the Office of Outreach and Evangelization. As part of my work, I travel the country for our Steubenville Conferences. I get to associate with the best of the best Catholic authors and speakers, all holy people. I’m honored to call our regional partners friends, all joy-filled people committed to sharing the love of Christ. Every year, I see literally thousands and thousands evangelized.
I run into others outside of work who I’m connected to through my faith. Our church, even with its challenges, has so much to offer. Pre-COVID, my wife and I were part of a vibrant Parish (we need to get back to that). I belong to a small group, a free, online Steubenville Discipleship Quad. All of my friends are on my same journey of loving God, loving others, and sharing our faith.
I fondly refer to all of the above as my “bubble”, the bubble. I love living in the bubble. In that bubble, I have encounter…with Jesus and with others one on one. I also have community…all of us heading in the same direction, the right direction.
It’s a Crazy World
We live in a crazy world, that has gotten crazier over the last six months. I refer to it as bizzarro world. What’s going on is unimaginable…or at least it was 12 months ago for most Americans.
Given society’s challenges, I thank God for the bubble. I’m incredibly appreciative of my encounters (including and especially with Jesus) and my community. It’s hard to imagine life without both. My bubble is my safe place, the joy filled experiences, where authentic relationships live, where common bonds are had because common beliefs are shared.
All of us are called to go outside the bubble as well, where we love God, love others, and share our faith. It’s our call from Jesus in the Great Commandments and Great Commission. It’s also our passion, given the gift of Christ we’ve been given. While I love being in the bubble, I know I have to go outside it…to help it grow.
Given that you’re reading this blog, I assume you have your version of the “God” bubble. Maybe the above is suggesting a new or expanded context for you. Go outside your bubble. It’s our calling. That said, embrace your bubble. Grow the relationships within your bubble. Engage. Encounter. Enjoy community and be affirmed by it. God is great. Your bubble is a great place to experience Him and others on the journey.
As always, feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with comments, questions, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!
Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!