The Blessing of Community2
On the mountain height of Israel will I plant [that young twig], that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest.
- Ezekiel 17:23
God promised to do a great work in the lives of his exiled people. Though today there were prisoners in Babylon, there would come a day when they would have their independence. And, on that day, they would be a blessing to others.
Ezekiel paints this beautiful image of a noble cedar stretching up into the sky. Its branches spread wide. Its roots run deep. It’s strong. This noble cedar provides homes to all kinds of birds: shelter, security, safety. Birds – some of the earth’s most fragile and vulnerable creatures – need noble cedars to thrive.
We long for God to do this wonderful work in us: to make us into a noble cedar community. We want to become the sort of community who can provide shelter, security, and safety for the most vulnerable in our midst.
When the Lord grows a community, when the Lord grows a church, when the Lord grows a person … the blessings spill beyond that the life of that community, church, or person.
Here are a few ways that noble cedar communities bless the “birds” around them:
- The lonely find friends
- The sick find caretakers
- The poor find dignity
- The heartbroken find healing
- The shamed find restoration
- The lost find guidance
- The vulnerable find protection
The people who make up and maintain noble cedar communities recognize that God’s work of healing and restoring our lives is meant to be a blessing to others. Maybe you’ve met people who knew that and who served you when you needed it.
When in your life have you experienced “noble cedar” communities? What kind of difference have these communities made in your life?