Exodus 3:1-15 and Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b
Jeremiah 15:15-21 and Psalm 26:1-6
Peace be with you!
This week we are looking at what a Christian community should look like according to Paul. What does it mean to be a community of Christians?
For some of us, the Christian community is the church where we have fellowship with other Christians. In our minds (conscious or not), we define strike boundaries of where we interact as a Christian. Some of us understand the Christian community to be where the good news is welcomed with open hearts. The individuals who welcome the conversation around the good news are affirming of one’s faith and will continue to deepen one’s faith.
But what if Paul is defining the Christian culture, not just a community?
Paul starts Romans 12:9-21 with the commandment gave to his disciples: to love one another. The commandment seems simple enough – hate no one but love all – but what does it mean to love everyone? We are called to hate what is evil (Romans 12:9a) – anything the Devil sends our way and to resist the bad in the world.
We are called to love one another with mutual affection and with mutual respect (Romans 12:10). We are called to give ourselves to each other and to the Triune God. What does this mean? Paul takes the rest of this passage to answer this question.
We are called to pray for and with those individuals who are suffering – physically, psychosocially, and spiritually. Whenever I see a car accident or hear the sirens of an ambulance, I pray for those individuals who are physically injured, for those doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, and EMS’s who are knowledgeable to help the physically injured, and the family and friends who are worried about the physically injured. There are several individuals who are affected by a car accident or when an individual has serious medical issues. It takes the whole community to help an individual who is suffering.
Take for instance the national tragedy of 9/11. It took the lives of several individuals who had responsibilities to others. A mother died leaving behind two young children. The husband needs babysitters for his children, so he can keep his job and keep providing for his children. The husband needs friends to vent and release his frustrations to, so he can be the best father possible. The husband needs a pastor who can give him the gospel and remind him the Triune God loves him and his children.
New York City needed aid from across the nation to put out the fires and clean up the mess, which took years. Individuals who survived the attacks and saw the Twin Towers fall need a community where they can talk about their fears and losses. There were thousand of individuals who were directly affected by the Twin Towers falling. Anxieties were heighten as individuals began to understand what was going on. Pastors and social workers made themselves available to provided emotional and spiritual support to those individuals who needed it.
As individuals came to New York City to help out, others who lived there provided hospitality and food. Those individuals did not get along otherwise were working together to help New York City regain its integrity and self worth in the world. New York City would not stop being the great city it is just because it was attacked. It would keep going.
The whole nation needed a community to understand how the Twin Towers could fall and to make the statement that the United States would continue to fight for its freedoms. As President Brush said we were going to war, young men and women enlisted and went overseas to protect our nation.
In a national tragedy, like 9/11, it takes a community to get the nation back on its feet. As Christians, we are experts at building community and helping those in need. We are called to provided shelter to those individuals who homeless or are travelling. We are called to bless those individuals who wrong us, which I admit is difficult most of the time, but deep down these individuals are hurting too.
We are called to rejoice and weep with each other. Celebrate the joy with the family members and friends reuniting with the victims in the Twin Towers; comfort the individuals who lost loves ones when the Twin Towers fell. Everyone needs someone else to celebrate or weep with when they get any kind of news. No one should be expected to handle any kinds of news – good, bad, or indifference – on their own. It takes a whole community to absorb and respond to a tragedy and a miracle. As a community, we share good news and bad news, and we share the responsibility to overcome any news.
Within the Christian culture, we strive to build healthy community where no individual is more or less important than to the next individual. We do not fight or judge each other, but we, as Christians, work together to build a community. We help each other, so no one has to feel alone.
We, Christians, are a community where individuals share in the rejoicing and weeping.
Thanks to be God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for being our center in our Christian community. Help us to keep strengthening our community by working together and being each others’ support. Thank you for sending Jesus Christ to show us what true love looks like. Amen.
Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
Please feel free to answer the reflective questions through comments. Please agree to disagree and be respectable to each other. Please take a moment, if you have not already, to sign the covenant. You can answer all or just one of the questions.
1. How do you build community?
2. How do you share in your rejoicing?
3. How do you share in your weeping?