I have just finished participating in a short course run at my church. The very first week involved a fair amount of apprehension especially around relating to and sharing in a group of near strangers. This week we finished up and there were tears, hugs and prayers for one another because we had so thoroughly bonded and grown together as family. How did that happen so quickly?
We did spend some time together weekly. Quality time listening and sharing, getting to know each other without distractions. Yet I don’t think that can fully account for taking a group of people from such different backgrounds, life experiences and personalities from zero to hero so completely.
I have another friend I went to school with. We are not alike and we ran in completely different circles as teenagers. Now we are both Christians we can share so personally and honestly caring for and affirming one another despite how different we are on the outside. It’s this strange phenomenon that despite every difference, we have everything that matters in common. Not dissimilar to meeting another person from your home country while overseas. An instant connection is formed. You have shared experiences and values.
Luke talks about this very phenomenon in Acts 2:44 stating that “And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common.” Because of their devotion to the Bible, prayer and to encouraging one another in faith every difference was not worth mentioning! Because the same Holy Spirit lives in every Christian empowering them to love one another and develop the fruits of the Spirit there are no barriers between us!
In this way we reflect God himself, a paltry and imperfect picture of the perfect triune God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in community together serving and glorifying one another in perfect love.
So as we engage in community with other Christians we ourselves know and experience God more fully. And as we invite others to witness and participate with us in this community they too will have an understanding and we pray an experience of God. Let’s allow God to release His power as we practice community!