And it makes sense. After all, God created us – in His own image; and at His very core, God is community. Described as three persons in one, often referred to as Father, Son, ad Holy Spirit for our understanding, but far beyond the roles those titles embody. Infinite, unified, interpenetrating community. Diversity and unity in an intimacy best demonstrated in perfect marital sex, but still far beyond any such mortal metaphor.
Thatâ€™s why we long for community so much … Our hearts were made to need it. The deepest longings of our hearts point us to God’s design. They point us to God. They point us to community within God, depending on Him and interdepending on each other.
Apparently, our physical bodies respond to community. As John said, we were made for community. But, not just any kind of community, we were made for a community that finds its center – its reason for being – in the triune, interrelationship of God.
Similarly, Jake from “blue skies and the open road” wrote a post about community called “We Need to Come Together“. Jake also discusses community based on our shared identity in Jesus Christ. He says:
Quoting Hebrews 10:25—“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”—Rich points out that this speaks more to the church just meeting together on Sundays for worship. This togetherness needs to pervade the life of the church. I think he’s bang on. Community and fellowship in the church is a hit and miss thing, and far more miss than hit. As the church, we have something that no other group of people has—we have a shared identity in Jesus Christ. This identity brings us together and binds us as brothers and sisters through time and space, nation and culture. It even bridges the gap between Ford and Chevy lovers.
So what went wrong? Why are we more divided today than ever both within our local churches and the church universal? I think a lot of it can be attributed to a lack of understanding of the nature of the church as well as a lack of awareness of our identity. True community is hard to find. There a lot of churches that appear to have community, but don’t. I make it very clear for the record: a clique does not constitute a community. Communities are inclusive, cliques are exclusive. Having firsthand experience with this, I can attest to the dissatisfaction and lack of joy in being a part of a clique, especially being on the outside of it. But this is not even as bad as those churches who suffer from divisions and struggles.
I agree with Jake: Heb 10:25 is not about Sunday meetings, at least it is not only about Sunday meetings. If a group of people only meet together on Sundays, then they do not have community. I also appreciate Jake’s statement that “a clique does not constitute community”. Exclusiveness has no part in the body of Christ.
But, what are we doing when we define church by our membership lists? Are we not excluding members of the body of Christ – members who we need and members who need us? I do not think it would harm the community that finds its identity in Christ if that community opened itself up to all believers. In fact, I think that community would find itself becoming more and more healthy.