Yesterday was one of those "too many things happening at once" kind of days, so I'm offering a short aside on community today. I'll continue the "Being the Body" series next week.
Sadly, yesterday I heard several stories highlighting what happens when our communities are not functioning the way the Lord intended. Mostly they consisted of the standard tale of someone in need approaching their church for help and being told, "Tough luck, chum." The other kind of tale is the also (sadly) typical one of churches falling apart from within because of highly defective "community." Someone pointed me to such a tale online and it happened to be about the damage suffered by a well-known blogger. Iand my heart was broken.
I post that tale because we need to understand that the petty thing we think is the world's most critical church issue, when held onto with such fury that it takes on a life of its own, has a way of biting people. Worst of all, those bitten people are sometimes the most innocent, children, as is the case in the story above. The fallout from those attacks lingers for years and becomes like a toxic waste dump in a person's life. I get tired of hearing how those issues (almost always petty) take precedent over community.
When we're sitting in church on Sunday, let's be thankful for the people around us, even if we don't feel thankful. Then let's ask God how we can be the ones to help forge those people around us into a godly community with Christ as the center. Let's build up, not tear down.