Today’s Scripture is Romans 12:12-16,
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.”
Today’s blog post is by Will Newton, Director of Contemporary Worship,
I was blessed to be a part of an amazing Christian community in college – the FSU Wesley Foundation. For me, though, there was never a doubt that I would be involved in a faith community in college, because I was raised in a faithful family, and was considering a future in ministry. What always astonished me was the number of people who joined Wesley after not being involved in a Church.
Often, when asked why, they would respond with something like this, “I saw how much you all loved each other, and how you treated each other, and I had to be part of this community.”
The early Church saw their numbers growing daily, yet was subject to sporadic persecution, systemic criticism, and public mocking.
They didn’t have stellar preaching. Their building was non-existent. I’m relatively certain their pre-schools were horrible. What they had was a commitment to prayer, care for vulnerable and koinonia (fellowship, sharing, and communion.) And, this compelled people to give up their lives (literally) for Christ.
What Paul is urging into the Roman community is the same thing we must commit ourselves to today; rejoicing in our hope, suffering and rejoicing together, living in harmony, humility, compassion and mutual respect.
There is no programming, no preaching, no worship music, that will share Christ the same way that self-sacrificing, hope-filled Koinonia will. It is my firm belief, that where there is no sense of community in the Church, there is no Church. For the God that the Church seeks to embody, is, in fact, the same God who is in 3 in 1 – living in penultimate community. Our God is THE perfect union, even while being three persons.
How does our Church reflect that level of community? That level of Christian unity? Can we say that our life together as a congregation shows Jesus more than anything else we do?