What does a full heart look like? Brennan Manning tells the story of a man named Ed Farrell, who traveled from his home in Detroit to spend a two-week vacation in Ireland to celebrate his uncle’s eightieth birthday. When the great day dawned, Ed and his uncle rose early to greet the sun. They walked along the shores of Lake Killarney, loving the emerald green grass and crystal blue waters. For twenty minutes they watched the scene together in silence. Then the uncle began to do an unusual thing for an eighty-year-old man: He began to skip along the shore of the lake, smiling like a schoolboy in love. Ed was puffing hard as he tried to catch up to him.
To experience community is to know the joy of belonging, the delight at being known and loved, the opportunity for giving and growing, the safety of finding a true home.
“Uncle Seamus, you look very happy. Do you want to tell me why?”
“Yes,” said the old man, tears running down his face. “You see, the Father is very fond of me. Ah, me Father is so very fond of me.”
So it is in the Fellowship of the Trinity: “The Father is very fond of me.” This is the fellowship into which we are invited—one that can make eighty-year-old hearts laugh and cry and dance for the sheer joy of being loved. We were not made for loneliness; we were made for this joy. — John Ortberg, Everybody’s Normal till You Get to Know Them (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).