Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All God’s people here send their greetings. 2 Corinthians 13:11–13
For the past several Sundays, we at Creekside have been sitting with and exploring our Vision Statement: Ordinary People Living The Extraordinary Way of Jesus. On it’s face this is a relatively short statement, yet is its packed full of invitation and challenge. It is an inviting statement because it recognizes the reality that we do not have to be “something” for God to choose and use us. God’s pattern throughout the pages of scripture and beyond is quite the opposite. God uses the ordinary, the less than ordinary, the meek, the simple, the works in progress to be vessels of mercy, overflowing with mercy to a thirsty world.
Ordinary people living the extraordinary way of Jesus — it is a way, a process, a path that is walked, a journey just as much as a destination. A way with Jesus. A way of Jesus — his love, his sacrifice, his model, his ethics, his values — often in conflict with the values that we, our friends, family and society so naturally carry. How do we love our enemy? How do we honor the powerless instead of the powerful? How do we live in a way that we never worry? These are just the first three that come to mind, I could come up with a list of 100. How do we live in the way of Jesus? How do we speak into a world that does not value this way? This is the journey; to figure this out with one another, to live in a way that is different — not for the sake of being different, but because we are being transformed into another way, the extraordinary way of Jesus.
This way is rooted in the unconditional love of God and it is lived out in the body of believers. Community serve as a mirror that reflects back us the you who you really are. How much of you is still there? How much of the way of Jesus is present in you? It is only in community that these questions answers to these questions can be discerned and you can be transformed into the person you were created to be.
Belonging is for becoming. Community happens as we gather in love, as we commit to each other, to love them even when we don’t feel love in the moment. Community happens when we live with an authenticity and transparency of our needs and receive encouragement in a place where we are at once fully known and fully loved. Community is less destination than transportation — life. It s a place where we realize that we are all a work in process and so let down the walls of pretense to let others into our lives and us into theirs, living with the authenticity and transparency of our needs together.
Is this attractive to you? Are you currently in community? Have you experienced this in the past? If you are not in community now, why? What step could you take today to move toward community?
Let me know your thoughts and share them with others as well.