1) James 3:18 (MSG); 2) Acts 2:42 (MSG)
1) You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honour. 2) They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
The notions of community and connection are some of the biggest priorities we tend to have when it comes to church and the body of Christ. We obviously want to be a part of a church that glorifies and worships God, but we also want to feel like we belong, like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. I find it interesting though that these verses point out the key to real community – hard work and commitment! Like all family units and friendship circles, being a part of a church community requires us to be planted, to stick it out, plug in and play the long game. It means showing up when it would be easier to stay in. It means extending relationship to people we don’t know when it would be easier to talk to people we are more familiar with. It means making sure the church is a space where every person is valid, seen and cared for, regardless of who they are. As Acts 2.42 tells us, this was the way the early church lived their whole lives. Not just on a Sunday, not just when it felt convenient for them. It was ingrained in the very culture of the church. Even as I write this, I am convicted and encouraged (as we all should be!) to make this a priority.
God help me to see the church as you see it – a beautiful mesh of broken people who you love as your children. Help us to be able to treat each other with love, dignity and honour, as you do us. God we ask that we would be known as a people who look after and love each other in a manner that is real, genuine and leads to eternal impact. Amen!
Written by Ps. Madelaine Tarasenko