We live in a time of great independence in every area of life, but I see it most expressed in the church. Everything ranging from our thinking we would be able to function as “an island”, to our issues of pride and sometimes even our sheer laziness. We need one another!
Community wasn’t something that Peter and the boys came up with as a means to grow their church, but they were reflecting the very character and nature of the Godhead. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit have eternally existed and operated in perfect unity and they express relationship to us out of relationship with each other. It was out of who they were that they created Adam and Eve in the garden back in Genesis: “It isn’t good for the man to be alone”. That happened before the Fall, so we can see that community wasn’t intended merely as a means to make sure we stay ‘in line’, but is rather an attribute of the Trinity that we get to partake in. It gives us the opportunity to show those around us an aspect of God! Straight through the narrative of scripture we see God building family, gathering a people and calling people out of isolation and into community.
In Acts chapter two, after the Spirit comes and fills the church, we see one of the most descriptive portions of scripture that give us a glimpse of what things looked like in that early church. We get a picture of how the gospel and the Holy Spirit who was poured out on the earth affected the church. In that chapter we see people gathered around the Word, signs and wonders being performed, people being saved and added to the church daily, individuals enjoying meals together in each others homes and one of the more convicting lines “and all who believed were together and had all things in common”. This means they shared everything they had. We read texts like this and see that everything was laced with a sense of togetherness! Even of those who were saved it says that they were “added to the church””. Saved and added. There was no individualist attitude, it was all about being together, being the body and coming into family.
Sunday is Only One Expression
We at ACF express community in our weekly community groups that meet in homes, people connecting at our cafe in town and at our weekly gathering on Sundays. Though it isn’t as intimate as some of our smaller group settings, it expresses our theology of a Trinity-led community as we gather on Sundays.
Though some might be frustrated with it, I love that it takes us a few times of asking people to sit down to get started on Sunday morning. It brings joy to see people that have come for not just a meeting but have come for community and relationship. We come to worship, hear the word, fellowship with each other and pray with each other–which we will look at next week. It is all wrapped up in togetherness!