How Christ builds community

“Life in community is no less than a necessity for us— it is an inescapable ‘must’ that determines everything we do and think. Yet it is not our good intentions or efforts that have been decisive in our choosing this way of life. Rather, we have been overwhelmed by a certainty— a certainty that has its origin and power in the Source of everything that exists. We acknowledge God as this Source.

We must live in community because all life created by God exists in a communal order and works toward community.”

| Why We Live in Community, Eberhard Arnold

During the season of Lent, we followed in the footsteps of Jesus, were led to the cross and his tomb.   “He is risen,” we proclaim. So, we can go now, back to business as usual now, right?

But, the Jesus way is not a task to be checked off, a trip to be taken and completed or a set of tourist attractions for those entertained by his holy life. This is not a ticketed event; it does not come with glow sticks or wristbands— though his followers are few and there are actually more fans. The pews are not to be compared to open– aired seats in a bus that moves from his cradle to the grave. We do not gather on Sunday morning to point out the places where Jesus lived, served and died: “To your left is the cross.” And we are not merely repeating our favorite stories of what once was. Instead, we are being reminded of who we will be as members not just of a church— but his body.

This will take a community.

It will take more seasons, more holy days, more worship services, more prayers, songs and sermons before we are fully formed. It must be said that we will never “arrive.” I cannot think of any perfect or successful disciples of Jesus Christ. Eugene Peterson describes discipleship as “a long obedience in the same direction.” His way takes time.

Still, there is the temptation to return to the broad way, the crammed highway of commerce, to become busy with the building of our kingdom until God’s kingdom comes.  But, wait. Don’t take another step.

Jesus is going somewhere. While I don’t have a map with an X that marks the spot, it is a journey that we must treasure. Less we lose track of him, we need not stop to measure or to count our steps. There is no recipe for getting it right. Just keep walking and keep talking with those who have joined you on the road.

Hand in hand and one foot in front of the other, we go together or make no progress at all. For his body is made of many members. We must continue in our fellowship, joined together— not at the hip but by his cross. This is how Christ builds community.

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