by bobby williams
“True friendship calls you out of the darkness of personal privacy into the loving candor of mutual concern. It moves you from being a sealed envelope to being an open letter”- Paul Tripp
Community; you and I, are together, in community with one another. The question however is, are we engaging in the community to which we have been placed.
It’s seldom that I ever look around and realize that I am completely alone. I have a wonderful wife and two beautiful children. As much as possible, we spend our time together. During the day, I often go into local coffee shops to work on sermons, planning, etc. At night, at home, I sit on the couch with my wife. However, even in the midst of all of these “people”, I can sometimes be surrounded but entirely disconnected.
In the middle of working inside Starbucks, I often have my face in a computer with my headphones on. Sometimes at home we are glued to the television or I have my nose in my phone. I’m connected to the world through the internet, but “connectivity does not equate to community.”
So although we are more connected than we have ever been as as a culture, we can also be more alone, even though we are surrounded by people. Thankfully, the gospel propels us, encourages us, and forms a community around us.
Chances are pretty good that you and I are different in a lot of ways. But regardless of how different we may seem in our likes and dislikes, we might have this in common; the gospel that has saved us. It’s in that gospel that we are brought together into a deeply formed community.
And this deeply formed community has not been formed by accident. From before the beginning, God himself has been operating in community. He exists in the community of the Trinity; the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
So it is because of this already formed community and binding agent of the gospel that we too are called to community. Part of the function of the local church is to help one another form communities to work out the “one anothers” together. It’s not perfect because you and I are not perfect. But it is binding and it’s what you and I are called to be part of.
Father, today we thank you for the community to which you have invited us into. Through you, we have been invited into a community of a people formed, that exist together to honor and glorify you. Give us the courage today to be bold and to step a little deeper into the community you’ve given us. Give us the courage to encourage others to step into that community. Give us the wisdom to speak truth into this community. Give us the heart to feel when others need to be encouraged around us to step deeper into this community.
Father it can be a scary thing to be in community with others when we don’t know what it is that we have in common with them. But remind us that above all, we have you in common. We have each been saved from something and are all being saved to You. Let us hold on to the gospel together, and let it drive us to this community even when we don’t “feel like it”. Encourage us, propel us and lead us to experience what you intended for us in the community of the gospel together. Help us not just go to church, but the be the church, together, “one anothering” each other, daily.