This week we cancelled our Wednesday night services and, in an effort to explore ways in which we can better influence the community, met at the Upper Room. Our time together began with our showing avideoconcerning responsibility. Richard Pimentel put things so well: “Given my abilities, what then will be my response to those abilities?” Then he asked, “What abilities do you have? More importantly, what is your response to that ability?”
Those are some powerful questions. I want each of us to think about such in light of community. Henri Nouwen said, “Community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives.” Wow, isn’t that true? A “community” is different from a club or a clique – anyone can form the latter; however, it takes grace, vision and the work of Jesus to truly have the former. If you think about it, Jesus promised his followers a new kind of family – a new kind of community.
Remember the ruler that came to Jesus who went away sorrowful due to his heart being anchored in his position and wealth(Mt. 19:16-22; Mk. 10:17-27; Lk.18:18-23)? After he goes away, Peter witnessing this plays the “comparison game”and says,“See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”(Mt.19:27) I love Jesus’ response. Folks, this is solid gold:
Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, the last first.(19:28-30)
Clearly Jesus promised his followers a new kind of family – a new kind of community. A group defined not by status, race, money or social standing. A body of people who have one main thing in common – the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul said to a mixed body of believers:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross [now watch this] thereby killing the hostility.”
People who are vastly different can dwell united in one body due to the reconciling power of the cross. If you think about it, the Jews and Gentiles didn’t have a whole lot in common; they were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Yet, due to Jesus’ work at the Cross they found that love that would have them die for one another. All the barriers, friends, big or small lose their distinctiveness as we look toward the Cross of our Lord.
So back to our question: “Given my abilities, what then will be my response to those abilities?” Simply put, we are to love people, extend grace and point people to Jesus. And remember, “Community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives.”
You are loved,