“All who believed were together and had all things in common…”
|Acts 2.44, NRSV
These past few weeks, I, along with my Young Adult Sunday School class, have been in conversation about what Christian community looks like– not in appearance but application. We don’t just want to talk about it; we want to experience it. Sunday morning does not count. A community does not meet once a week or exist in one hour increments. That would be more of a community meeting.
Without our cultural expectations and familial traditions, we are looking for a way into church that does not involve a velvet rope and long lines, that is desirably unfamiliar, that places us on the heels of Jesus and allows us to practice what he preached every day. We are in search of a community not tied to political party affiliations or geographic location but bound together by the love of Christ. And this is not the sweet and sappy stuff.
There were no teddy bears and roses left at Christ’s cross. There is a song that asks, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” I can tell you who was not– Cupid. Jesus was not pierced by his arrow. No, this love is sacrificial and will cost our very lives in ways both meaningful and painful.
But, we want to belong with people authentically, deeply and truly. We don’t fit anywhere else– without cultural and social assimilation. And we lose more than our selves, exchanging our souls for some semblance of similarity and sacrifice that which makes us unique individuals. Because we don’t want to upset the image that a chosen few have in mind. Apart of this kind of group, we are separated from ourselves, unable to be who we are for fear of losing our membership.
Joined with Christ, we are members of his body. No assembly required on our part, we are brought together and held together by the very hands of Christ. Builder meets material, community is created in ways that cannot be blueprinted. Life in Christ requires no hard hat, no gloves– because this life does not require our labor. No falling debris, the Jesus community is a safe space. (But, if you need a plan in case of emergency, we could hide in his empty tomb; there is “plenty good room” there.) The Jesus community is supported by the beams of his cross and is sustained by his blood, sweat and tears– not ours.
Not an ideal, this is the life promised to all who believe. It is not a gated community and requires no passcode. There is but one door, Jesus and entry is shared with all. For God so loved the world that he gave us… community in Jesus.