What is community? It is a word that we often use, but we may not really know how to define it.
One example of community is seen in the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring. In one scene Frodo exclaims to the surprise of everyone, “I will take the ring to Mordor, but I do not know the way.” In the moments that follow a group forms of very different individuals that would include a wizard, a future king, an elf, a dwarf, and of course, a fair share of hobbits. This group comes together for a common purpose to assist Frodo in his task. They all have different backgrounds but are united together for a shared objective to destroy the one ring and save their world. In the beginning, this group is distrustful of each other, but over time their trials and experiences bind them all together.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer gives us another example of community in his book, Life Together.
Christian community means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. There is no Christian community that is more than this, and none that is less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily community of many years, Christian community is solely this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ. What does that mean? It means, first, that a Christian needs others for the sake of Jesus Christ. It means, second, that a Christian comes to others only through Jesus Christ. It means, third, that from eternity we have been chosen in Jesus Christ, accepted in time, and united for eternity.
Bonhoeffer goes on to explain that true Christian community is found in Jesus Christ. He states that Christians need each other. We are not meant to live out our faith in isolation. And it is because we are in Jesus that we are able to love, serve, forgive, and encourage one another.
In Acts 2 we see a great example of community as well. Luke summarizes the state of the early church at the end of the chapter. In verse 42 he writes that the early church was devoted to prayer, teaching, fellowship, worship, serving one another, etc.
Devoted. That’s the key. The word conveys the idea of consistency and faithfulness to something. You cannot have community without devotion. You cannot be connected to something on a part-time basis.
This idea of devotion can be applied to so many areas in our Christian life. We are called to be devoted to our study of God’s Word, to prayer, and to community. We cannot approach our faith with a partial commitment. It requires all of us and all of our focus.
Take time this week to think about your devotion to the things of God. Think about your devotion to community. Ask God to help you grow in your devotion to Him and to His people.