The Christian life can often feel like an enormous add on: what do I need to do on top of everything else I’m already doing in order to be right with God? But Jesus’ primary command to us is to love God with our whole life—heart, soul, mind, and strength. The command is a quote from an Old Testament passage that illuminates for us what this kind of whole-life love will mean. This week, we’ll see how we can’t love God with everything we’ve got without considering everyone we know. Loving God is a community project.
Forming community is difficult right now.
Community formation has more obstacles than ever:
my 167 hours are COMPLICATED
Community formation is on the back-burner:
my 167 hours are PRECIOUS
Community formation takes too much time:
my 167 hours are BOOKED
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. - Matthew 22:37
“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Matthew 22:39
The best way to spend our 167 hours is by loving God + loving neighbor
Liminal = a space of transition
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9
- “Loving God” introduces a community to us
“Hear, O Israel…”
“Spiritual formation occurs primarily in the context of community. People who remain connected…in the local church almost invariably grow in self-understanding, and they mature in their ability to relate in healthy ways to God and to their fellow human beings…Long-term interpersonal relationships are the crucible of genuine progress in the Christian life. People who stay also grow. People who leave do not grow." - Joseph Hellerman, When the Church Was a Family
The liminal lesson: step in to community, don’t drift away from community.
- "Loving God” clarifies a community for us
“...talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”. - Deuteronomy 6:7-9
"Work does not necessarily make for the ideal community. But in the past few decades, the office has served, for many people, as a last community standing. In an age where various associative institutions are in retreat—such as religious congregations, bowling leagues, and unions—there is one place where the majority of adults ages 25 to 55 have kept showing up, almost every day, of almost every week.”
- Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, August 6, 2020
The liminal lesson: turn your SOCIAL BUBBLE into a SPIRITUAL BUBBLE
Church with Friends
- “Loving God” solidifies community among us
“20 When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” - Deuteronomy 6:20-21
We love because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:19
The liminal lesson: God’s community around us reminds us of God’s commitment to us