What a gift it is to live together in community. What a challenge it is to live together in community. I find that both of these statements are true and carry different levels of meaning for me depending on the way my days unfold. Now, as much as any time in my memory, we are being reminded regularly that personal growth, and fulfillment, the health of society and ourselves are tied closely to the many ways we are shaped in and by community.
Reuben Job offers us the following encouragement about Jesus’ practices and promises regarding the importance of “being in” community.
Jesus lived his life in community. From his childhood with Mary and Joseph to his calling and traveling with the disciples to his declaration that he and the Father were one, Jesus lived in community. A community of faith nurtured him, supported him, and informed him. It is unthinkable that we would try to live a faithful life without the gifts offered in a faithful community of Jesus. Jesus was known for valuing solitude since he retired to rest and pray, but living in a community also marked his life….Jesus makes a dramatic and revolutionary promise when he says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matt 18:20) This is a welcome promise to those who may wonder if God is present in their lives or their affairs. This is a hopeful promise for those who sometimes feel alone and forsaken. This is an enormous assurance for those who face the unknown and need companionship and community.
The writer of Hebrews encouraged his readers to not lose heart or succumb to the temptation to fall away. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Community – whether in-person or online is a gift. I pray we will continue to celebrate it’s gift and embrace the ways God is calling us to join in the creation and sustaining of the beloved community.
Still In ONE Peace,
Jon (the Methodist)
If you would like to view past editions of How Sweet the Sound, follow this link: https://sounddistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/