Community, Part One

“You are called to belong, not just believe.  Even in the perfect, sinless environment of  Eden, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”  We are created for community, fashioned for  fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of  us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves.”

–  Rick Warren, “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?”

I’m not a practicing Christian but I find much to recommend in Rick Warren’s popular book. This quote in particular says it all.

What should we do in a community? Again to Rick Warren:

“We  are commanded to love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, admonish each other, greet each other, serve each other, teach each other, accept each other, honor each other, bear each other’s burdens, forgive each other, submit to each other, be devoted to each other, and many other mutual tasks.”

To me, community is a formalized way to make sure each day contains a meaningful human touch. So many of our contacts are anonymous. It is still wonderful to share a human moment with a random stranger. But it does not build. Relationships come from time, connection and contact. Community facilitates relationships. Relationships are the nourishment of life, life’s teacher and the bright lines on the road that true us to our calling. And yet, community in the flesh and blood sense of the word is rare.

Community should be real, not virtual. It should be held together by shared goals rather than individual ones. It should be stable, familiar faces with mutual history and three dimensional lives. It should have obligation and hold us to be our best selves. And there should be love, love for the gift that is that community.

Rare. And wonderful.

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