As humans, who are made in God’s image we are created to be in community. A community is simply a group of people with something in common. It starts when we’re born with our parents gathering together with other parents as a way of sharing what is happening with their precious new bundle of joy and a place for them to exchange stories (good and often bad), worries and tips on how to manage being parents.
From there you end up in school which has its own unique and special community and within that you find yourself joining different clubs with friends and on and on. This need to be in community drives us to gather together with people who we share common interests with. There’s nothing quite like being around people who all share the same interests that you can talk about endlessly without getting bored and knowing they ‘get you’ without fear of being thought of as weird.
So, back to the start and the model for community that we have in God the Father, Jesus the son and the Holy Spirit who are known as the the Trinity’, 3 in 1. They exist in community together and this is why we have this need within us whether we recognise it or not, to be in community and a strong desire to be really know and seen.
The bible talks about the importance of community living and shares a picture of what life must have been like for the disciples,
Acts 2:42-47 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
As believers we are known as the Body of Christ and just like the human body we are made up of many, many parts with no part being more important than another and each part having its own unique part to play.
I Cor 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
As a church community we are called to be different in a world that sees so much disunity and so many fractured relationships. We have an agenda from God and are on mission together to show Jesus to the world and this looks like doing life together in harmony with other believers and to go about doing good.
We know in reality that just like any other community there are always going to be those who are like us that we naturally gravitate towards but the challenge is to intentionally befriend those who aren’t like us so that the community reflects the diversity of life. I love that the word community contains the word ‘unity’ and as his children we should live in unity with each other.
Ps 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
When God sees his children living in unity he loves to bless it,
Ps 133:3 For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
A community should be an enriching place that builds you up and gives you life. A place to be authentic and take off the mask that we so easily put on. A place where people ask how you’re doing because they genuinely want to know. A community recognises that we all have unique and special gifts and encourage one another to grow and step out. A community loves each other and puts others before themselves, offering support to one another in times of need, supports each other in prayer and checks in with each other.
A community celebrates together and mourns together;
Roms 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Another important aspect of community is food and eating together is highly valued. Sitting round the table together to eat and share life is a beautiful thing and a place where you become known and seen. A community that shares food and celebrates diversity in this area is indeed a rich one and sharing of different cultures is often best done with food as a starting point.
I realise as I write this that I am in a fortunate position as this community I am talking about is a community I am part of in my local church. This has been most evident to me and the Lovely Mr B over the last few weeks as we have suffered some very sad losses in our family that have left us shocked and saddened. But, in the midst of this the community that we call home church have stood with us, prayed with us, fed us, shopped for us, checked in with us, encouraged us and loved us well.
Thank you to Kings Church London, Lee site for such a beautiful experience of living in community. We feel truly blessed.
If you are not fortunate enough to be part of a community like this I urge you to plug in to your local church and be the community that you want to be part of.
Remember we are better together.