a word about community
May I offer a word about community? Humor the community pastor in me for just a minute. People crave community; being known and knowing others beyond small talk. GOD made us to live lives interwoven with each other. In fact, His secret plan, which displays His multi-faceted, manifold wisdom, is the Church.
“God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 3:10 NLT)
The unity of His Church (that’s us) is GOD’s big plan to reach the world, and to show the rulers, authorities, angels and demons the beauty of His wisdom. He is at work in each of our lives, through hard, beautiful, good and difficult circumstances. How does all this work? Our FATHER has given each one of us a gift, through His SPIRIT.
“A spiritual gift is given to each one of us as means of helping the entire church.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
There is eternal significance and purpose in each one of our lives. You matter, your child matters, your neighbor matters, and your friend matters. Everyone has been given a gift, for the purpose of building up His Church. The LORD works all the details of our lives like an intricate tapestry. Though a tapestry doesn’t look like much from the backside, it weaves into a beautiful pattern on the front. In the same way, GOD accomplishes through the mess of our daily lives a larger, more beautiful result than we might imagine.
What keeps us from experiencing His significance? Individuality and the appearance of perfection do. Our culture trains us to choose to be alone over community or to cover up our struggles to impress others. We hear someone say their faith is private, their own personal belief, and it sounds attractive. We’re drawn to the image of a Marlboro man, standing alone against the landscape. And we’re suckers for the idea of having it all together. Open any magazine or watch any commercial. In falling for these false images of who we’re supposed to be, we miss the bigness and beauty of what GOD is really doing.
The gift The Spirit has given me isn’t for me and your gift isn’t for you; they’re for the Church, our community. Which means, we need to show up in each other’s lives on a consistent basis. We cannot share the part of ourselves GOD made for us to share, if we’re not present…right?
And when we gather, we need to be honest about our circumstances, even if it’s humbling.
“How strange that we should ordinarily feel compelled to hide our wounds when we are all wounded. Community requires the ability to expose our wounds and weaknesses to our fellow creatures. It also requires the ability to be affected by the wounds of others…But even more important is the love that arises among us when we share, both ways, our woundedness.” A Different Drum by Scott Peck
Community isn’t perfect. It is more likely a mess, because it involves you and me. However, walking in authentic community, we come to know love and peace and joy greater than anything the world offers. Our design is to be invested in one another. So, take the bold step to show up in each other’s lives and share the struggles and victories as GOD works in you.