community orientation

To be “in Jesus” means to be in community. We are certainly thereby in communion with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we are also in communion with Christ’s Body, the church. With all others who by faith are in Jesus. That actually includes all of God’s people: past, present and future.

For us, community has a hate/love kind of existence. On the one hand we long for community. “It is not good for the man to be alone,” is said in significant part because of our inherent need for relationships. We really don’t find our true selves apart from relationships, because we were made to relate to others, as well as to God. We were made to be in community with others in the love of God through Jesus by the Spirit.

But down here in in the already/not yet mode in which we await the fullness and completion of Christ’s redemptive work, community orientation is not easy. Think of what we’re up against. An individualism held dear or simply taken for granted in our western liberal democracy which is every bit as much a  part of us as a community orientation was a part of the life of Israel. The way Israel was set up by God and their struggle to retain their identity during hard times lent itself to holding on to a community orientation which we find among many of them to this day.

Sin breaks relationships and breaks up community. Since we are still sinners this means that keeping community is not going to be easy, even community in Jesus. We are told in scripture that we must make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This is not just any unity. But a unity in Jesus, of those following Jesus. He is the Head of his Body, the church. We are members together in it. So for this unity to work it will have to correspond to what is its binding reality. The life of God in Jesus by the Spirit in and for God’s saving, new creation work.

We need nothing less than this if we’re to live out the call of God for us in this world. And grow up in this love together through Jesus by the Spirit for the world. This is in significant part where “the rubber hits the road” for us in Jesus.