the gift of love and community

Fellowship.

Communion.

Participation.

These terms are rich in describing the nature of community the bible presents. They describe the dynamic relationship we have with God and others that isn’t something to be grasped, but rather something to be accepted as a gift - “We love because he first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). It’s only because such love is divinely-infused that we can experience the “joy” of interdependence (1 Jn. 1:3).

Yet for all its richness, this gift of Christian community is not easily accepted or experienced. Community doesn’t come easily in a world of self-sufficiency.

Spending a Thanksgiving weekend with family, church, and children - not without some stressful parenting moments! - exposed my own tension between self-sufficiency and dependence on others. Whether it’s wanting to be liked, be an awesome parent, or say the right things in church, it’s easy for selfishness to take over.  It’s no wonder that humility as exemplified in Jesus is not easily come by, and never to be taken lightly (Phil. 2:6-11). humility can’t be manufactured. Fabricated humility is an oxymoron. We are so prone to personal freedom, success, and individuality (all good things in right doses), we neglect to accept that which is out our control - the gift of love and community.

There can be good reasons to be self-confident about certain things. But true community, formed with the gift of humility and interdependence, isn’t one of them. And facing my own self-sufficient inability to fabricate such humility and love, for this gift I am truly grateful.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 1 Jn. 4:11-13.

Thanks be to God!


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