Thursday , 12, November 2015 Leave a comment

Our town was rocked by a tragic accident Tuesday. That morning, I was asked to pray with a group of first responders at the hospital, and was greatly honored to do so. I had actually just finished asking the Lord if there was anything I could do to be of help in the midst of a horrible accident when the phone rang…

The hospital front lawn was full of family members, friends, city workers, and concerned citizens. It is a beautiful thing to see how people come together in true community in times of great tragedy, suffering, and grief.   Differences and all the things that tend to separate and segregate people just melt away at such times.   It is one of the enduring qualities of living in small-town America—that when needed, people really come together in a beautiful way.

I know you join me in continuing to remember everyone involved in prayer…

It is that sense of Community that creates the deep and lifelong bonds that so many veterans treasure. Bonds are formed in times of crisis that are never formed in times of comfort… Veteran’s Day, in large part, is a celebration of what sacrifice and total commitment bring: True Community. When self-preservation is replaced by a commitment to others even at the cost of one’s own life, Community of the deepest kind is formed…

So this week of all weeks, Community seems to be the message God would want us to hear. The Bible makes clear that this is God’s heart—in fact the Community of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—live in perfect Community and call us to join Them in it!

Perhaps the greatest casualty in the demise of western culture has been the loss of Community. Our headlong dash for all things selfish and self-pleasurable has cost us culture itself. As Rod Dreher puts it in a Christianity Today article, “The gay rights revolution is the latest example of the West’s long process of emancipating the individual from all authority outside the sovereign SELF.” Yes, our culture has come to worship self at the expense of truth, life, marriage, church, and most of all, God and the Community He calls us to be. The lie “you can be like God” has become our hellish western-culture reality…

In terms of marriage, this has happened in five stages, according the author Jonathan Grant in his book Divine Sex. The five stages have been: The separation of sex from procreation (through contraception), then from marriage (with the rise of cohabitation), then from partnership (as sex became temporary and recreational), then from another person (through pornography), and finally from our own bodies (through questioning and even rejecting “male” and “female” as valid categories). Self and selfish are in; marriage, holy singleness, commitment, mutual submission, community, and selfless love are out…!

The God of “Me, Myself and I” is easily found in everything from Facebook posts to the decline in Church attendance. Community, it seems, gets in the way of self-expression…self-fulfillment…self-righteousness… and, well, you get the picture.

Tragically, it takes a tragedy to get people to come together—and then, only for a short time. Jesus had a better idea as He prayed, “we would all be one even as He and the Father and Spirit are One (see John 17). The Church is a Community. In Community, people’s self-interests take a back seat to the good of the many. This used to be the normal mindset of American people—but those days are sadly gone.

For those who want the Church to be an extension of their self-desires, no church home will ever work for long. Still, the Spirit is moving many—even in this culture—to be counter-cultural and think Community first, before self. This is Church. This is Community. This is God at His very Heart, and God’s very heart for us…!

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