As much as we like to boast about our individual independence, we are really created for community. We are born dependent on others, and we rely on relationships throughout our lives. In a very real, though not absolute sense, community is the essential form of reality. One of the hardest things for the naturally self-centered human heart to realize is that we are here for each other. Christians must avoid ” Burger King Christianity ” (have it your way) and see that it is as we put others’ interests and needs and honor above our own that we can fulfill our calling to be individuals, yet not allow our individualism to trump our being for the other. Many things in our society militate against this sense of community and relationship. We have been inculcated with a rugged sense of individualism in our Western world drama and education so true community is hard to come by. We are also so accustomed to big government taking care of the needy that we have almost forgotten that government handouts can never replace person-to-person giving, receiving, and sharing. Further, the exponential use of technology in the last years built barriers between people as they find their communication via cellphone or other computers, and often virtually ignores communication by old-fashioned talking face to face, eating meals together, playing games together, even arguing the issue of the day. And, not surprisingly, the Bible is decidedly community and relationship oriented. The Trinity is himself community of three without obscuring the individuality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Most of the New Testament letters and exhortations are directed to the Church as a body. Much of the rebuke pertains to the unity and community of Christians. Of, salvation is personal and individual, but once one is born again, he or she is to be a vital, functioning, loyal, faithful participant in a group of united people called the church, the People of God, the temple, the holy nation, the family, and other definitions that describe Christians as a relating group of loving people with an experience.
Rev. Dr. Richard L. Shaw, Pastor