A three-mile run up and then back down a long hill called “Currahee” was a regular training drill for Easy Company, the first paratroopers in the US Army. The name “Currahee” means, “We stand alone together” and this hill became an icon for the deep comradery and lifelong community that these young men forged as they prepared for the D-Day invasion of Normandy and battles beyond.
Each paratrooper did “stand alone” at the airplane door before jumping out and into the line of enemy fire. However, they lived and fought “together”. As the award winning Band of Brothers mini-series chronicling Easy Company notes, “They depended on each other, and the world depended on them” – a powerful statement of deep friendship, community and purpose.
Unfortunately, too many Christ-followers and Christian leaders simply “stand alone”. The “together” or community component is missing. This is especially true in seasons of trial and challenge.
For some, it seems too painful to reach out. For others, the energy required for vulnerability seems too much. There are also the ‘nobody’ lies that gain strength in your mind: nobody really cares, nobody could understand, and nobody can help. Sometimes sharing our challenges offends our pride or stirs our fears around being real with others.
As a result, rather than leaning into community, too many choose the path of isolation. This isolation only adds to the burden. As Bill Hybels writes to ministry leaders, “Our hearts were not built to handle the hardships and heartaches of ministry alone.”
Jesus’ life and example was one of leaning into community. He lived, loved, served and suffered in the context of community. A powerful illustration is Jesus at Gethsemane. He knew that these were his final moments before he would be betrayed and die a terrible death. Yet, in these final moments before his arrest, he chose to bring along his inner circle.
It’s true that Peter, James and John didn’t fully understand Jesus’ challenge. Their repeated naps didn’t provide help in the most present or compassionate manner. However, despite the imperfection of his community, Jesus chose to lean in rather than isolate himself.
Please take a moment to reflect on these application questions:
- Who would you choose to bring to your Gethsemane?
- Have you invited someone into your current challenge?
- Are you leaning into community or isolating yourself?
- Is there a lie you need to reject in order to be supported in community?
As Christ-followers and Christian leaders, may we depend on Christ and one another knowing that the world is depending on us.