HIS CALL TO COMMUNITY
I have a philosopher friend who once told me rather directly that he never eats at a MacDonald’s, Tim Hortons, or any other restaurant that is inside a big box store like Walmart or Home Depot. Through the course of his studies to get his PhD, he explained, he became very aware of the universal belief that dining in a location or with someone actually meant something and created a sort of link socially, psychologically and spiritually.
As I studied the feeding of the 5,000 from Luke 9 this week the links between the feeding of the 5,000, the ritual meals of Jewish tradition, and the communion meal instituted by Jesus stood out very clearly across the spectrum of commentators on the passage. I realized as I prayed about the passage that this simple moment of Jesus reclining in fellowship with these followers is a sign for us of His call to community. As many note, the various scenes of fellowship in the gospels continually put before us a vision of the community that Jesus has for His people. Biblical scholar Darrell Bock notes of Luke 9:10-17 that the setting is a statement against privatized religion where we are only concerned for what God is doing for us individually. The call to Christian community is continual through the biblical narrative and stands as a necessity in the Christian life. This means bearing with one another and riding through the highs and lows of life spent travelling as fellow sinners before our Loving Father.
Our Christian community at the Messiah, friends, is a spiritual discipline and an essential means of grace God uses to form us into the image of His Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is true both when community comes easily and when it doesn’t. I submit to you the challenge to engage with the lives of the believers around you, and the certainty that this engagement will be to God’s glory, and your ultimate good.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” – Mt 18:20
Yours in Christ,