Community can be tricky. I think mostly because we we have expectations for community. We expect community, especially in Christ, to be something magically free of vain pursuit and ego maniacs. What I have found, no matter how well intended, that authentic community is not one established or maintained in moralistic restrain, but one where its members are radically pursuing intimate communion with God.
In Matthew 6, Jesus sheds light on how authentic community begins with authentic communion.
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. Matthew 6:6 The Message
Do you see that? The very first thing the Lord tells us is to get alone with Him. Where we can be authentic. Where we can be seen for exactly who and where we are. Where we come face to face with ourselves in light of who He is. He tells us that because it is the BEGINNING of sensing His grace. Its there that the motives and darkness of our human hearts, which prevent unity in the body, will be exposed. Authentic kingdom community is defined by love and known by grace. Our human hearts (unless radically consumed by Christ) will not be able to live out in love. God is interested in re-defining our hearts as ones that are radically consumed by his grace in order that theycan reflect His nature and light.
I think my real thirst for community is no longer one defined as “authentic”, but rather one defined as a “Kingdom”. Where everyone takes their place on their knees before the throne of God. Where everyone filters their lives through the collander of His Word. Where everyone is finding out who they are and what they are livnig for in light of who Christ says they are. Where obedience is not optional, because the cost of disobedience is too much.
A kingdom community is one where grace is not the exception, but the rule. A kingdom people are ones who know the space where grace begins, and are not afraid of it. Amen?