A Question of Community…
August 9, 2005 § 6 Comments
So, the past couple of days, cloewen has been talking about intentional community.
A lot of the responses seem to indicate that a lot of y’all would like to experience the unity and comfort of such an existance. So I was wondering. How many of you out there long for true community? And if so, are you aware of what it actually takes to live like that?
I, for one, long for community. Not necessarily a bunch of people all living in one house all together, but definitely a group of brothers and sisters who have “all things in common.”
The picture of fellowship that is painted in Acts and the Epistles is one of tight knit fellowship. They relied on one another; spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. So much so that in Acts they were able to boast that there were no poor in their midst.
But this doesn’t happen automatically or spontaneously. Only through God’s Spirit can it happen in any real and lasting way. Especially in the US, the idea of rugged individualism tends to undermine the concept of community. The Western mindset is one that does not rely on anyone else, for anything.
But in Christ, we recognise our need and short-comings. It is in the context of community that our weaknesses can be compensated for by brothers and sisters who are strong. Conversely, our areas of strength can build up and give blessing where God intends them and to those with the greatest need. In community, what’s mine is yours, and all I have I give to you in your need, and I can rely on you to supply my need. God fills all to overflowing so that each can bless the other.
Anyway, I was just wondering where all of you were in terms of thinking about such things.
Do you long for unity as it is described in Chirst’s prayer in John 17? To serve your brothers and sisters and the lost around you side by side in life sustaining and overflowing love? It takes sacrifice, but the sacrifice is what God is trying to pry our fingers from anyway: our creature comforts and old ways of life. This world, basically.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:20-26