Community is essential to the self in Christ. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.
Our cultural system urges us toward busyness and individualism. Sin drives us apart. Shame resulting from our brokenness leads us into isolation. Seems like every pressure we face is pulling us away from others.
Community must be a big deal.
It is. It is part of our identity. Not just something we do, but who we are.
Yet, despite that being true, our value for being together is very low. Having championed communities and small groups for over eleven years, it has continually felt like an uphill climb connecting people to this part of their identity.
Maybe part of the problem is that we approach being part of a group like we do anything else in our busy lives, as something to accomplish. We schedule a couple hours once a week, sit through, and then move on to the next thing. Time together becomes viewed as having nothing to do with the rest of our life. The only value is in what I can take from the group.
The difficult solution is to change our lens. Community is not about getting something, it is about being something. Community is about identity. Together we form the body of Christ. Literally, we are in Christ.
A body is not like an army, in which the individual parts are expendable. Nor is it like a team, where your concern is to have the best at each position independently perform their role. In a body each part is interconnected. Each part is dependent upon the function of the other. When one part of the body suffers, then entire body suffers; when one part is honored, the entire body rejoices.
No part can be missing for the body to function the way it was intended.
This is expressed when we are told to be devoted to one another, love one anther, encourage one another, serve one another, be compassionate to one anther…you can go to biblegateway.com as well as I can to see the rest.
Christ is in us through the Holy Spirit; when we accept the embrace of Christ, it is through our interconnectedness – oneness – that we remain in Him.
What keeps you from creating the space in your life for the communal part of your identity?