Community: Not a Replacement for God

Let me be very direct. Why is it that with just about everything, God and others are the focus, but when it comes to community, it’s very easy for things to become all about us? Whether it is intimacy or vulnerability, support or whatever, community can become about what we need. And if we don’t get that certain scratch for that particular itch, it’s back to the same old song: “Man, I really need community.”

What happened to serving? What about the command to love? Is community some sort of fantasy world in which we receive a dispensation from the great and foremost commandment?

Yeah, you might be right. Maybe a little harsh. But our understanding – my understanding – of community needs to begin at all times with our communion with God.

Yes, in one sense, he’s easy to love. Wholly faithful. Merciful. Unconditionally loving. Generous beyond words. Wise.… You get my drift. And certainly, He wants us to come to Him with our needs, to find rest in Him, comfort, encouragement. And yet, despite all this, because of our state of duplicity, it is quite a thing to love Him in return.

Does He then back off the call to love Him with all our hearts? Nope. In fact, He says, among other things, “let him deny himself and take up the cross and follow me.” Even in this unfathomably one-sided relationship, you pay in. Community, I gotta believe, is at the end of that road. You know…that sacrificial love road.

Whether it is with God, with family, friends or neighbors, we can’t find community looking for what fits us. Isn’t community the beautiful, surprising thing that blossoms as we obey God’s great command to love? The wildflower budding in a field of sacrifice and surrender?