Community Defined: Part 1

When I was first asked to write a blog post about community I found myself questioning why I, of all people, should write anything about community since its something I’m frankly pretty terrible at. I have a terrible time remembering people’s names, I’m often too quiet for my own good, and I’m terrible with building friendships. Through all of my inequities, however, God is great. If he could transform a timid man with a speech impediment like Moses into a giant of the faith, then I am sure he could use what little I have to work with to write a blog on community!

The need for community is almost essential to human life. I have a friend who recently had her first child. Her husband had been serving in the military overseas, which left her home alone. Unable to find companionship with friends who were out enjoying their singleness, she turned to Facebook. As time went on, she made increasingly frivolous posts, desperately seeking attention from others. She was miserable because she was missing an essential element of the human condition: community. If we are to understand community, then it seams only logical to start at the source of all community: God. While I may not fully understand the community that God has within himself, I will attempt to make some observations with the trace amounts of wisdom he has given me.

Community Within God

God has given us plenty of examples in the Bible about community, but the best reference is essentially God himself. The Godhead, also known as the Trinity, is three parts to a perfect whole. Each part of the Trinity works in concert with one another with perfect peace and understanding. The Trinity’s actions can be seen as a great symphony. Each part works in concert with the others to perform the greatest love song ever created; a song to captivate our souls.

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.”
– John 17:1-2

From this verse we can see God giving glory to Christ and Christ giving that glory right back to God. The community that God has within himself isn’t one that just takes but one that is mutually uplifting to one and another. God glorifies the Son and the Son glorifies the Father. They are both equals with each other and they pour out love to one another. Similarly, we are equals. As God loves the Son, we too should love one another.

“6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” – Philippians 2:6-10

While there are many observations you could make about this verse, the thing that caught my eye was that Christ, being of the same essence as God, was obedient to God the Father and made himself a servant. How often do we in our own self-importance try to make ourselves better than our fellow man? We are all God’s created children, yet we resort to things like gossip to make ourselves seem better. Notice in verse 8 that Christ humbled himself. In the same way, in order to have a community that is living for God we must humble ourselves and exalt Christ to those around us.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” – John 13:20

In this verse Jesus is telling his disciples about the Holy Spirit. From this verse we can see that each part of the Trinity has His own role. Later in John, Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:16). Each part of the Trinity is God made “of the same substance”, but each one has a role to play. In much the same way, we all have a roll to play in the body of Christ. Some are created to teach, to be great scholars, to work with their hands, but we are all part of the same body. We each have our own role to play.

Greg Hoffman
*Part 2 will be posted Tuesday, Jan. 25th.

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