Living in a godly community such as a church brings challenges and affects holiness to all that participate wholeheartedly in the community.
Learning to Love
Living in an intentional community points one toward the great commandment to love God and our neighbors (Matthew 22:37). The love we are called to is a self-abandoned, self-sacrificial, without expectations. Too often our expectations cause us to be disappointed and not to love. When we place our own agenda on a brother or sister we are always let down. That is one of the reasons Paul was inspired to write, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3).
Learning to Forgive
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14)
The Lord who forgives all our sins demands that we forgive the sins of others. Forgiveness is the heart of the gospel. Christ died to forgive us our sins so that we are able to forgive others.
Learning to forgive is learning fully to accept forgiveness from God, learning not to focus on the speck in my brother’s eye instead of the plank in my own eye, and learning to count other’s greater than me.
The story in Luke
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Learning to Participate
18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Corinthians 12:18-19)
There is no such thing as a lone Christian. Christians are designed, gifted and blessed to be in a community with one another. Each of us needs one another in order to fully function as Christ would have us function. It is sinful to think that we can watch church on TV and be a part of the body of Christ.
In order to be a part of the body of Christ we must mutually submit to one another; be willing to encourage and instruct one another in our Christian journey; to fellowship with one another through the Holy Spirit, and to share in Holy Eucharist with the worshiping community. (Acts 2:42)
To not be a participant in the body of Christ is to effectively excommunicate oneself from the blessings God has in store for each of us.
In our house we have learned to live in community and to receive the blessing from God. There is no one person who carries the entire household. We share with each the duties of the house. We do not shy away from contributing where we can (especially when asked). It is the same in the church. Each of us has an ability to contribute to the life of the church and to participate in the spiritual instruction offered. God is getting ready to grow Legacy as he already has and it is incumbent upon each one of us to participate in the body of Christ, to love one another, to forgive one another and to prefer one another above our own desires.
The Rev. Doug McCurr… on Hold Fast the Hope of Everlast… Shawn Cole on Quipu Runners