The Creator’s Desire and Design
by Amy Dinh
Community. What comes to mind when you think of it? What emotions or feelings come up? Is it a word or a reality that you, or many you know find hard to hear and be a part of? Or has it been a good experience for you? Whichever camp you may find yourself in, let’s trace back and look at the origin of community.
When we think of community, we must first look at the One who created community. It all started in the beginning, in a garden called Eden. The Creator desired communion and He designed community. Adam and Eve, the first fruit of humanity were introduced to fellowship and community with both the Living God, and with one another.
This perfect and holy fellowship, this community, became fractured and broken due to sin. But God, the original craftsman made a way in which this communion and community can be restored, through His Son, Jesus.
The Passover meal, the last supper Jesus had with His friends around the table, was a prophetic picture and foretaste of the death He was about to endure, when He broke the bread and blessed the cup; so that humanity can be reconciled back to Him and be reconciled to each other.
We were not designed nor destined to do life or journey through this life alone. But in community, both with Him, and with others. The church is yes made up of individuals, but also as members of a body, priests of a royal priesthood, co-heirs of a kingdom, brothers and sisters, sons, and daughters of a family. It was never just an “I” but, a “we”
Community is the container in which we discover Christ in ways we would not be able to apart from it. It is the very gift, wherein we find life and friendship with Christ. But community is also the beautiful crucible in which God uses to bring forth transformation, the process of conforming us into His very image. And this process is painful and uncomfortable, but one that is necessary and formative to the formation and shaping of us as followers of Jesus. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” sounds like a great verse to quote, but the reality is, when the rubber hits the road, sharpening brings discomfort and irritation. Such as, there is absolutely no need to “die to oneself” if one is alone. “Dying to self” becomes a sure and possible reality when we are in actual community with others. Life and newness come forth from death, and death is found in the crucible gift of community. Forgiveness is both extended and experienced, where there is hurt, pain and offense. Humility is chosen when pride fights to remain and arise. Unity and love must be fought for, where there is division and strife. Longsuffering and endurance have their way when challenges, trials and testing are present in community. Patience, kindness, and gentleness are cultivated, and needed when it is much easier to live out the contrary.
Community is scary and risky because it requires vulnerability, the opening and revealing of ourselves, the good, the bad, the broken parts of who we are. The parts we are ashamed and afraid to show and share. For some, the reality and experience are community has brought much wounding and hurt. But, in community we can also experience healing.
Community is both scary and risky, yet what we are afraid of and deem as risky is what is necessary for our transformation and formation in Christ.
Whether we prefer it or not, or agree with it or not, or what experience we’ve had with community, we must simply acknowledge that God is a God of community, and that He uses community. If that is so, shall we give community a chance, knowing that it was The Creator’s desire and design?