Youth - ENGAGE - 4.3a.2017 PDF Print E-mail

Week Five

Discipline of Community by Eric Magnusson

"As you are in me and I am in you..." Relationship. It is the most foundational reality of life. As people, each and every one of us is born into relationship. We are nurtured for around forty weeks in a rich symbiotic participation with our birth mothers and born into the complex freedom of life in relationship with others. Long before we define ourselves by our professions or our natural giftedness, before we are athletes, teachers, sanitation workers, civil servants, pastors, or scholars, we are daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lovers and enemies and friends. Relationship, and therefore community, is at the very heart of what it means to he human, and to be created in the image and likeness of the Triune God.

In some ways this most basic reality stands in contrast to how we often understand our identity as Christians. In a Christian culture where the litmus test of faith is often one's personal relationship with Jesus, the discipline of community is a commitment to a counter-cultural way of life - a life with, for, and in relation to others. Christian community is a reflection of God. The essence, the very nature of God is relational - open, participatory, receptive, welcoming. It is life characterized by self-giving and other-receiving love, in which each person of the Trinity creates space in Gods self for the other persons: as Jesus said, "as you, Father, are in me and I am in you" (John 17:21).

The discipline of community, then, is one of the most vital ways that we can reflect God in the world. The discipline of community is a radical commitment to open ourselves to the transformative work of God's Spirit as we encounter God in one other, for we can never really encounter another person and be left unchanged. It is a participation in God's work of redemption and reconciliation in the world. And ultimately, community is about becoming who we truly are, because we really only become the persons God has created us to be in and with and through our relationships with other people. The with-God life is the with-community life, so we travel and we engage life together!

Last Updated on Monday, 03 April 2017 12:58