Created to BE in Community

Isn’t it interesting that God said it wasn’t good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18) so He made woman? 

God was there with Adam, yes?  Adam wasn’t truly alone in one sense, but very much alone in a human companionship and community way. 

God created us to be in community.

This was brought home to me in a strange way.  My husband and I have a dog named Harley—a smooth haired fox terrier.  He attracts a lot of attention, particularly from children.  Last evening, Harley was taking us for a walk when a little boy ran up and asked if he could pet our dog.  The little boy smiled when I said “Yes” and then he looked at my face with the bandage from my surgery and asked, “What’s that?”  I immediately thought of the medical answer and decided that wouldn’t be nearly as informative or age appropriate as the answer I gave him: “I had an owie on my face and so the doctor took it away.”  The little boy said “Oh, that’s good.”  While he was petting Harley, two little girls came running up to see Harley too, and one of them spoke for the pair and asked “What happened?” and they both pointed to their faces corresponding to where my bandage is.  I gave them the same answer and they said, “Oh.  OK.”  After this episode, I talked with my husband about how I ran into a woman from church while I was at the store earlier and she also asked me “What happened?”  I’m sure everyone I encountered was wondering about this prominent bandage, but only she—a friend—asked. 

Community:  husband, boy, girls, strangers, friend…

Think of all the ways this never would have happened if I were not in community.  No one to see my face or diagnose my cancer.  No one to perform the surgery.  No one to make the car that I drove home.  No bandage manufacturers.  No store at which to shop or cashiers to ring my purchase of bandages.  No friend.  No strangers.

But there was a difference between the strangers at the store and the children.  None of them knew me—they had that in common.   I’m not a child psychologist, but I thought it was really fascinating that children asked about it whereas the strangers–adults–were silent.  Were the children merely curious?  I imagine the adults were too. Was it children’s innocence and observation?  Unlike adults who also observed, perhaps children had awareness and concern because they have an association with bandages that is different—a “kiss it, make it better” mentality?

Why is it that my friend acted in a similar way to the children?  The simple answer is that she cared.  She loves me with the love of Christ. 

Observation.  Curiosity.  Concern.

Strangers observed and may have been curious, but what about their concern for another human being? Maybe it was there, but as adults they’d learned not to express it.  Then I wondered back to the children.  Could their questions evidence a rudimentary community on display before the layers of social mores and taboos would turn their thoughts inward, fear would silence their questions, or responsibilities would dull their concern and transform it into resignation or apathy?

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  (1 Corinthians 12:26)

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

We were made to be in community—to be invested in one another beyond the simple “How are you?”  In the United States, most of us have the individualism as standard equipment and community is something we must relearn.  There is no better place to relearn community and our concern for others than in the church.

We were Created to BE in Community, so let’s ask ourselves how can we better show community within the church and in our neighborhoods today?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Chapel Worship/News, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on May 22, 2011

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  1. by Meghan

    On May 24, 2011

    No offense, but maybe the kids had not developed any manners. The adults had learned to be polite because their parents told them that they shouldn’t point out people’s problems. Can’t we be in community without wearing concern on our sleeves?

  2. by seminarygal

    On May 24, 2011

    Hi Meghan, I can see your point. I wonder, however, if concern that is never shown, demonstrated, or acted upon can qualify as genuine concern. Have manners become our collective excuse for not getting involved?

    This raises the huge point of my next installment of the Created to BE series: Created FOR Community. Loving and serving one another is part of how Christians can show they are different from a world that says to look out for yourself because if everyone did that, everyone would be happy. B<

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