Monday, August 20, 2007

holiness is a communal/community project

The more I read, think and live, the more I believe that holiness is a community project. In Hebrews we read as much in different ways throughout the book, and the same goes true in the story we find throughout the Bible. Holiness as in becoming more what God intended us to become, in God's initial creation of us, is not abandoned by God at the fall of humankind. We catch glimpses of God's intention concerning this immediately afterwards, and then we see it come to a new beginning when God calls Abraham. This begins a new endeavor through what's to become a new community to be a light for the world, to be holy as God is holy.

Of course we need to read the whole story. Israel fails in its God-appointed task, though God always has a remnant of his people among them who remain faithful. Elijah is not left alone; even in those days of apostasy there remained seven thousand who did not bow their knees to the pagan god, Baal. And fastforward to Jesus. A remnant comes out of that as well, but from that begins a renewed light and life for the world, as at Pentecost God pours out his Spirit so that God's love, light and life may come to all people.

Holiness ends up where it begins, it is always a community project, never about simply we ourselves in our own world, but always about others as we inhabit and relate to each other in the one world we live in within the new communion and community in Jesus.

And this holiness ends up also being a community project, as we in Jesus being light in the Lord and holding fast to the word of life, shine the light of Christ doing good works and sharing the good news of Jesus to others.

Holiness at its heart must be worked out in communion with God, in community with the people of God, and out from that in mission as those who would bring others into the unique community in Jesus, through entering into and living in their community, again like Jesus.

I believe this is how we can become more holy as more and more we live out this new life together, in our Lord.

How do you see holiness as a community project and more than just one's own individual project?

10 comments:

NaNcY said...

i am seeing more of the individual commitment to God lived out through communing with God and being part of the body of Christ. that puts me into the body or community of Christ. and the individual commitment to live out the life of seeing Christ in others

and at the same time

seeing Christ in me and my actions

both, in part with the knowledge that i am part of a body that belongs to God and is there to share in the Love of God that is directed by God and lives for God in so loving and edifying one another.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

Great words! I cannot be what God wants me to be without others. As one person I know says, "When it comes to discipleship, there are no Lone Rangers."

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, Yes, it certainly involves us individually. We individually must do our part, but it ends up as part of the whole of the community or Body of Christ, soemthing I am sure you know and seek to live out.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Allan, Thanks. We do need each other in this life in God, but it seems that so many either don't see it, or are not open to it. But in a most simple way, any can be. I need both ends, to be ready to give and to receive.

NaNcY said...

i thank God for you, Ted. yes, we certainly do need each other, to help each other along in our walk. That is God working through both the helper and the one being helped to grow in Him. God loves you, brother.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, I really appreciate you too, as a sister in Christ to help me and others with the gift God has given and gives you. Thanks, sister.

preacherman said...

Ted,
The church that I am at now is striving for holiness. Loving each other. Taking care of eachother. If someone needs a ride to the doctor, then a member takes them. If someone needs for they take food over to their house. We pray for the sick and we have seen so many of our number time and time again healed in the name of Jesus Christ. You can tell it is authentic. It definetly a community church. We are now trying to reach out to the community by meeting the needs of those who need Jesus. (Jesus fed the 5,000; healed, cast out demons, etc.). We want to meet needs. We want to offer hope to the hopeless. We want to offer love to the rejected. We want to offer God's grace to those who need Jesus Christ. I am excited about it. Again, Ted excellent post brother. Keep it up!

Michel said...

This is a topic I have been thinking a lot about lately. I too believe we can only really be disciples of Christ when we are in community, for how will we put to practice love for neighbor if we're on our own? But, in my opinion, we need to be careful not to let the community become a substitue for discipleship. How often does it not happen, that organizing the community, being in the community, making the community work and attractive, become the first and foremost priority. We then loose our focus on discipleship and personal holiness.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman, It's great to hear of the Lord's grace and blessing and work in your midst. Wonderful. Thanks, brother.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Michel, What you say is so true. It reminds me of what our Lord to Peter when Peter wondered out loud about what had been said about John: "What is that to you? You must follow me." Each of us is responsible, in a true sense, for ourselves. But as we embrace and live out that responsibility, it ends up being in interactivity with one another. Yet it remains that we are responsible, even as we exercise our interdependency on each other and our dependency on the Lord.