For the main intro to this long stretch on community go here.
This Sunday night, our worship gathering will be focusing on the question:
Why do we need community?
I would pose the question to the reader (knowing your insight is just as valuable as my own). I have been thinking through a number of things in the last few years regarding why we need community and relationships.
At the very core, all religious input aside, I believe that human kind has a deep need to love and be loved. At our core, we are relational beings. Isolated, we cannot survive in a healthy state of mind or body. I choose to explain this in through the Christian tradition of following a God who is, by nature, relational. The Trinity… Father|Son|Holy Spirit… is an infinitely fulfilling, infinitely loving, infinitely revealing relationship.
Fitting to this nature, God has created humans in “his” image. Granted, not infinitely and internally, fulfilling, we need something else to be fill our relational need. Because there is an element to us that, I believe, is not physical, we need something outside of us. So many of us seek to fill this need with physical and temporary things… ultimately not satisfying. God has given us a number of ways of meeting our relational need. Ultimately, he came in a way that we could connect with best… that being Jesus Christ… to show us what he was most like. As the book of Hebrews (Bible) says in Chapter 1, Jesus is the “exact representation of [God’s] being.” Here we have God sharing his infinitely revealing self with us.
God has also given us another way of being in relationship with him… that being community. He has promised the present and indwelling Holy Spirit who essentially grows us into a “participation in divine nature” (2 Peter). The Holy Spirit manifests “himself” most fully through community as there are so many various personalities, gifts, and strengths. The more we pay attention to the Spirit of God in others, the greater we understand God.
In my very brief summary, we NEED community. We are created to love and be loved. To share of our selves, to give of our selves. We are wired in this way and fulfilled when we are in community. It is in community that we understand who God is. Revealing, loving, fulfilling. Relational.