If I am ever near a Taco Bell ... I make a point to go, even if I have to do a U-turn or cross six lanes of traffic I am going. This summer I had a day off at HoneyRock and chose to drive about 45 minutes to get to the nearest Taco Bell to get my usual order. I was so excited for a Baja Blast with a Crunch Wrap Supreme. I tried to enunciate in the drive thru so that the cashier would understand my southern accent because she usually doesn’t and I have to repeat myself at least three times. I was dumbfounded when she said to me “we’re out of Baja Blast, I’m sorry”. What?! Taco Bell, out of their signature drink? I had driven out of my way for this specific thing and they didn’t have it. My expectations were not met.
A couple of years ago, I traveled to a conference in New York City for an interfaith gathering. I expected it to be a weekend full of reconciliation, peace and love. My friends and I quickly realized we were at a different conference than expected and spent the weekend talking about social justice and protesting. My expectation was to better understand other religions, how to come together to learn about our differences and how we can make a change in the world. I did not expect to be handed an umbrella so that I could defend myself in a mock protest. My expectations were completely different than what I experienced
When coming to HoneyRock, I definitely had expectations about living and working in Christian community. There are things that I thought would be true which have not been true at all, and there have been things that have really surprised me. It is not that expectations are wrong, but that personal dispositions can destroy a community. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together says “those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial”.
What I love about HoneyRock is that it is a place where I am able to live in community with other believers and practice the way that Jesus loved others. He recklessly pursued anyone, not expecting his followers to meet a certain quota. Living in Christian community is an amazing opportunity to practice this love, showing grace to yourself and to others, even when your expectations are not met. It takes the focus off of you and places it on being a disciple of Jesus, loving others even when they do not have Baja Blast or throw an umbrella at you.
Ephesians 4:25-37: So put away all falsehood and “tell your neighbour the truth” because we belong to each other. And don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you, Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil…. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (NLT)