Community is the love of Christ. It has the power to calm a tsunami of out-of-control emotions. Feeling alone and forgotten overwhelms a soul. Sometimes we need Christ with flesh. He chooses to show up in the real life presence of friends.
I have been a friend in need and I want to be there, but I often feel so small compared to the immense suffering my friend is facing. I find myself overwhelmed because there is very little I am able to change. I can’t stop cancer from raging through a body. I can’t will a person to come back from the dead. I can’t make the agony of losing a child, spouse, friend less ravishing in the wake of emptiness it creates. I can’t remedy families torn apart by divorce.
More recently, I have been the friend in need. I have experienced my friends as a huge buffer to the pain and torment my soul has experienced. Through each of them I felt a stronger sense that Christ was right there with me, quietly, confidently assuring me that I am loved. When you are helping a friend, you may feel helpless like me, but the community you are part of through the love of Christ calms the storm. Community brings the presence of Christ into the room in a stronger way. I realize my friends may have felt powerless through their presence and prayers alone. They wanted to find physical ways to help. I promise you that I couldn’t take one more ounce of food into my home. There was no physical need left undone.
No one can change anything that has happened, but my friends have made a huge impact in my state of mind and ability to cope with my suffering. The community of Christian love has poured strength and power into my soul.
My community has flooded me with their prayers and assurance that they love me. They have hugged me. They have given me space. They have been used by God to love and strengthen me. Community’s power is the presence of God. God is community. We discover through the revelation of the Bible what it meant in Genesis 1:26:
Then God said, Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
God has existed in community. The Word of God reveals the bond of community slowly and most completely when Jesus Christ is born. We come to recognize the power of community in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Our minds are far too finite to conceive the fullness of what we define as the Trinity, but we can know that community is who God is. God is community and He encourages us to live in community. Jesus Christ demonstrated this when He chose twelve disciples and three among them who walked with Him through unique and close circumstances. Jesus benefited from His community. They could do nothing for Him. Sometimes they discouraged Him or told Him He was wrong. Yet though it all, He was not alone.
Community is powerful. Jesus live in community, first in the Holy Family, then with His twelve disciples. He called Peter, John and James into a unique and special community. If Jesus needed community, why wouldn’t you? Make sure that you become a community for others and live in community in this world. Community is a powerful force to ward off evil and bring light to a dark place.