Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Church: A Supernatural Community...

I grew up in a faith tradition that was highly individualistic. We used the word "personal" a great deal: personal evangelism, personal relationships with Christ, personal devotions, etc. We enjoyed "fellowship," but we didn't talk much about the power of Christian community and how it could change individual lives and the world. This idea of the church being a people who live together like the Kingdom of God was "already here in its fullness" was not something that was often spoken about.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together argued that a community, rather than an isolated individual, added strength and objectivity to preaching the Word. Additionally, Bonhoeffer claimed the Christian life can never be lived in the abstract. The expression of a believer's faith itself called for community living and sensitivity to one another.

This just happens to be the way that God goes about making a Kingdom... pulling all sorts and conditions of people together and then patiently and graciously making something of us.

The church is not a natural community composed of people with common interests; it is a supernatural community. And the super in that word doesn't mean it exceeds our expectations; it is other than our expectations, and much of the other is invisible to us as yet.