For Christians, life is a gift for us which is experienced in its fullness in Christ. Sabbath, the day of rest, is for us. The sun (if we see it) the air, the sights, the laughter, friendships and even the smell and taste of food is for us. Everything around us is for our good pleasure when observed as God intended and it in return points all the glory of those things and the love in which they were conceived back to God in praise.
Sounds good but it tends not to play out like that.
Let’s be honest. We don’t tend to bask in life as we are all so busy. It is the proverbial badge of honour that we all have to wear. Can you imagine not telling someone that you’re busy if they were to ask how things were?
Sitting back for a while and looking at life, my life and the lives of so many other people that are friends, family and people that I get to minister to, I can’t help but notice that our lives take. We work, learn and even serve and play while keeping busy or even to keep busy – and it all takes. It draws out of us, saps much more than just the day’s minutes and energy. So then, something has to take the backseat if we are pushing into everything else (even church things).
Having time in community with others may just be significantly important. You know, the select few who care and can tell when something is wrong or right in your life just by looking at you. Those who are always going to bat for you and always provide God advice, not their ‘good’ advice.
Outside of Christ, his saving and redeeming works and the availability of God’s Spirit to us one of the most beautiful gifts is other believers. God exists in community and he has blessed us with our own community which is to be anchored in him. It is in this community that the great plan of God for our lives comes alive and lives and breaths right there in the moments of joy and even sadness. It is the others of community that help us to continue our growth in Christ right smack dab in the middle of the world that wants nothing to do with him.
As with any community, there is a culture with traditions, celebrations, rules, and systems in how it functions. The unfortunate part is that we can somehow stake our claim in this community, engage in the traditions, participate in the celebrations and as best as we can adhere to the rules – all the while missing out on the communities centre. Even if we experience all that is going on we can miss its blessing that it is meant to hold us. Jesus.
The church is the tangible presence of God in this age. We move in step with Him; speak his words, reach for the lost and teach and encourage his people. But are we, the ones on the inside feeling the touch of his tangible presence? If you are a follower of Christ do you feel surrounded by his love? In looking to the future, knowing that at some point hard times or heartache may befall you do you know the arms that will catch you?
If you live in genuine relationship with Him and his people you should.
‘Busy’ avoids community and ends a conversation. ‘Jesus’ on the brain cries out for more of him and more of his people. If you have him, if you are touched by his people, then you are not going to accept another substitute.
This life does look different though. It’s open to others and also aware of the lives of those people. It is purposeful and focused. It does not simply ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with what is around it but seeks to see Jesus and him as Truth as the immovable standard by which it and the world around it are measured. It risks.
As Christians, Christ always needs to be offered more space. More time, more thought and more praise. So how do we do this in the fullness of one of His greatest blessings which gives instead of takes – in the community of His church?