Well said. Thank for reminding us.
Going to church with hundreds of other people to sit and hear a sermon doesn’t ask much of you. It certainly will never expose you. That’s why most folks prefer it.Community will reveal where you have yet to become holy. It will bring you close and you will be seen and you will be known, and therein lies the power and therein lies the danger. Aren’t there moments when all those little companies, in all those stories, hang by a thread?Galadriel says to Frodo, “Your quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while the Company is true.”Most churches survive because everyone keeps a polite distance from the others. We keep our meetings short, our conversations superficial. “So, Ted, how’s everything going on the Stewardship Committee?” “Oh, just great, Nancy. We’ve got a big goal to reach this year, but I think we’ll be able to get that gym after all.” No one is really being set free, but no one is really at odds with each other either.We have settled for safety in numbers – a comfortable, anonymous distance. An army that keeps meeting for briefings, but never breaks into platoons and goes to war. Living in the community is like camping together. For a month. In the desert. Without tents. All your stuff is scattered out there for everyone to see.
A true community is something you’ll have to fight for. You’ll have to fight to get one, and you’ll have to fight to keep it afloat. But you fight for it as you bail out a life raft during a storm at sea. You want this thing to work. You need this thing to work.
You can’t ditch it and jump back on the cruise ship. This is the church; this is all you have. Without it, you’ll go down. Or back to captivity. This is the reason those small house fellowships thrive in other countries: they need each other. There are no other options.
God is calling together little communities of the heart, to fight for one another and for the hearts of those who have not yet been set free. That camaraderie, that intimacy, that incredible impact by a few stouthearted souls – that is available. It is the Christian life as Jesus gave it to us. It is completely normal.
Well said. Thank for reminding us.
Timely musings…I have spent the past couple of years plus searching for that community of authenticity. I am weary of hypocritical let’s check it off our list of things to do this weekend complacent church goers. I didn’t want to become one of them, yet I missed the connection…my George Fox cohort and other friends became my connection…but I have landed in a small house church group that is affirming, raw, healing, hurting and wonderfully messy, providing all the clay a potter could ever desire! I have grace, an invitation to share my gifts, and lots of love to go around. It doesn’t look like church to many others who have settled for a comfortable complacency, but I much prefer courageous compassion, and am full of gratitude that the timing for this next chapter is now. Blessings and Shalom,
Kathy (Who still needs to read Beauty for Ashes. I am pathetic…)
Glad to hear you’ve found some life there, Kathy!
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation.” The church is incredibly important. We need to esteem the church. It’s a part of God’s plan. He knows man much better than man knows himself.
Amen – we are social creatures, made for community. By ourselves, we wither.
Thank you Seth; I needed this reminder today.
Comments are closed.
Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.
I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.