Community is messy.
Thanks to my friends at The Well I have been thinking about community.
For me when it comes to anything to do with community or church I go straight to one of my favourite books of The Bible… the Book of Acts.
Acts is great because it’s about the start of the church before we got ‘organised’ and put structures in place… which in turn became rituals or habits (but that’s a whole new blog)… and church wasn’t about a building it was about ‘ecclesia’ a group of people… a community and the cool thing is they came together over one thing… the resurrection of Jesus. These were people from ALL walks of lives, and they were bound together in community.
Now in this day and age when people start to talk about community they talk about sharing everything… their house, their possessions, they give things to the poor… then for the more focused they start to talk about going ‘green’ and making fuel from banana skins and only wear hemp… and then it starts to turn a bit… hippie.
Now please hear me… I think we should do everything to save our planet for the next generation… however it seems to me that it starts to be less about community and more about the effort we put in.
Acts 2:42-47 gets bandied about ALOT during these topics.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Now think about it.
And now think about it in terms of your community… would you ‘break bread’ or share a meal with someone you have never met before, or maybe someone you started talking to in a queue???
It says “the Lord added to their number daily” … now I don’t think it meant that random people just starting lining up outside peoples houses. It would seem to me that it was the community engaging with the world outside… and if you think about it, it would look pretty messy.
The reality is that people want to live in community… but they only relate it to people they know.
They live with people they know… they eat with groups they know… they talk about issues in their lives with people they know….
that’s not real community… that’s just being clicky.
That is actually US and THEM… something that the people who fight for community say they are against.
You may share your house, share your possessions etc… but you need to be in THE community for the Lord to start adding to it.
When you’re at church… how often are you seeking out someone you don’t know? Because when we’re living in community we need to get out of our comfort zone… and we’re starting to meet others… all the time.
It can’t be about when we choose, and when it suits us…
Community is ALL the TIME…
Community is MESSY…
and Community is sometimes PAINFUL.
When you continue to read through the rest of Acts you start to see splinter groups, following Paul… you start to seeing the need for meeting to clear things up… and you start to see that community isn’t as easy as some people might think!