After everything we’ve been through these last couple of years, there is one thing I realize we are all longing for more than anything else. I long to see true community as God intended it to be. In this series of posts I am simply going to look at the way the Bible says about what God intended for community. I recognize this is something that we seem to understand little about in Western churches. However, this should be Christianity 101, as we will see as we take a closer look at the scriptures.
Before getting there, we should look at together what we would define as community. There’s a lot of ways to define community, and the ways we often think about it is in the following terms:
Social groups – Shared interests & hobbies – Sharing resources & ownership – Tribe – Family – Neighborhood – City – Work – School
These are all workable ideas, and they all scratch the surface of what God intends for community in one way or another. What becomes apparent is that everyone magnetizes to a community perhaps without even having an articulate idea of how it occurred or how it develops. It is this aspect of life that we all participate in, in some degree or another, and long for greater depth of it without fully knowing how we got there to begin with. Generally, sociologists and observers all agree that community involves a group of people that share varying degrees of commonality in proximity to one another. If this is our definition of community as Christians, we are missing out on something glorious.
Community is a forever people who are well known by one another unashamedly, united in shared purpose and conviction of truth, fulfilling that purpose together in a shared environment with shared resources, maintaining harmonious uniqueness in roles, responsibilities, and personalities, sacrificially considering one another’s needs before their own, remedying one other’s loneliness and self disillusionment, and fellowshipping in the collective submission to God’s Lordship.
A Forever People
In this series of posts on community, I am going to simply expound on the various assertions listed above beginning with being a forever people. If you are anything like me, than you have been well acquainted with moving around and never settling down in one place for very long. I don’t intend on it, but that’s simply not been the lot that God has seemed to give me and my family in this life. As a result, we have a severely underdeveloped view of what it means to be in one another’s lives for the long haul. Pseudo-friendships on social networks that rarely surpass anything more than birthday wishes or random photos shared only further exaggerate the issue. Belonging to a people forever, i.e. like a neighborhood or a community of friends, is simply not comprehensible to us.
“The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”Genesis 2:9
Picture this, God created and designed the Garden of Eden to be a holy habitation for the Model Community to abide with man and creature forever. We were actually designed for perpetual unceasing relationships that would not dissolve with distance and the wildest disappointments. There in the center of the Garden God had planted the fountain of everlasting life, and had it not been for the partaking of the prohibited tree just beside it that community God made would have still been flourishing all these centuries later. There is much yet to be said about that cursed day, but for now let us rejoice that Christ Himself is making all things new, (yes, even better than Eden).
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I lam making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”Revelation 21:2-6
Lord, come quickly.
May we be with You, and Your people forever.