Friday, March 10, 2006

thoughts on community

Community implies having something in common together. It means more than just happening to exist together. Though unfortunately community is often seen only as that. It involves something that is unifying in goal or purpose beyond geography.

Theoretically today, community is increasing and individualism is decreasing in our postmodern society (overlapping the fading modernism). Though it's very hard for us westerners to unlearn old habits. Of course there's the all-important global community, in terms of the world politic today. No doubt we have a shrinking globe, and with that comes increasingly the sense of having to live together, with all that means between peoples who are radically divided.

Humans are meant to live in community. And that is strongly sensed by perhaps a majority across the board. The people of God, the Jesus community have a unique take on that. The community of God, the triune perichoresis, by grace embraces all. And the Church, the Jesus community lives within that embrace.

True, we often don't live it out very well. And there are powers in this present world, which would subvert, undermine and destroy participation in this reality. But God's pull is into this reality. Into his perichoresis, the triune dance of God. God's movement of joy- work and delight. A movement that is hyper-relational. That is hyper-redemptive. In Jesus.

Do we see this in our experience as the people of God in Jesus? Are our souls being lifted up to participation together in this community, the new Jerusalem, which will last forever?

This community does not exist solely for itself. It takes on the very heart and activity of God. It is redemptive and missional. What is seen in this world as important in terms of community, due to the image of God written on human hearts, should be seen as a fitting ending in this Jesus community. An ending that has to do with being inclusive. Taking in all who would follow. In Jesus. And in his community.

God. Let us be a community that is in step with your divine perichoresis- your dance of joy and love. May people see, in our Jesus community, where they are meant to live. And what their purpose and unique calling is in and out from this community. That more and more would see your salvation and shalom, even in this world. Amen.

8 comments:

RonMcK said...

Ted
In theory this is true, but I am not sure if real community is increasing in our time. It is true that I am able to communicate with you on the other side of the world, but here in New Zealand people seem to be retreating into their houses in suburbia. Higher fences are going up all the time, and many houses have locked gates. Some Christians are retreating in this way too.
Blessings
Ron

John Frye said...

Ted,

I like your thought that "God's pull is into the perichoretic dance of joyful community." We are indeed made for this kind of inclusive, missional life. Thanks for your thoughts.

Ted Gossard said...

Ron,

I see much the same thing here. Living in a more or less middle class neighborhood here, most of us don't have fences in our front yards. Though our houses are close together, there seems to be little interaction going on. Plus people moving in and out, even with houses.

Surely takes commitment and intentionality over time to break through and build some friendships. Lifestyles often hardly have time for each other in the families/residences, much less for neighbors living nearby.

But this is an important part of what our faith is all about, as I know you agree.

Ted Gossard said...

Ron, I think too that it's critical that this becomes an important part of a faith community. That they don't just gather and scatter, getting some personal edification. But that they are becoming a part of and thinking in terms of a community in Jesus, meant to live beyond themselves in the life and work of God. I know you see that.

Ted Gossard said...

John,

Thanks brother.

Jim Martin said...

Ted,
A nice post! You say much in a brief reflection...Thanks

Ted Gossard said...

Jim,

Thanks for commenting. And for your kind words.

DawN said...

AMEN BROTHER!