Community. It's a buzz word right now, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings. What does it mean in our walk with the Lord? How can we truly live out the sort of community described to us in Acts?
My husband and I recently joined a church in the heart of Atlanta. We moved several months ago, and were grieving the loss of the community that we had had in our college town of Athens, Georgia. Feeling the effects of being cut off from the people who had become like family, we were desperately trying to find that at our new location. The sermon we heard the morning that we visited our new church could not have been more fitting, and for that matter, more encouraging.
The pastor began his sermon with the word Oikos, the Greek word for family. He went on to explain that our communities, specifically church communities, should be ones that mirror thisOikos, acting like an extended family. To be surrounded by people who support you, pray for you, hold you accountable, help you further your ministry. People to be on a mission for Jesus with you. Oikos is having a group to support each other's individual missions and callings, to offer strength and be the body of Christ.
I tend live in the opposite of this Oikos. As an independent person, I often try to do things on my own. Isn't that what our culture tells us? We need to be completely autonomous, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, do whatever it takes to look out for #1. But that's not what God tells us.
We see the plan for intimacy and community reflected in the trinity. We were created to be in relationship with others, to advocate for one another, pray together, and love together. For it is together that we are the full body of Christ. Maybe that is why Paul felt the need to remind us in 1 Corinthians 12:15-20,
"Now if the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body."
I know sometimes, I need this reminder.Lorien Magnus is a second year Marriage and Family Therapy student at Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, Ga. She is also a graduate and editorial assistant for Conversations Journal. She loves learning about integrating her faith into her future psychological pursuits as well as doing relational ministry. She and her husband now reside in Atlanta, Ga.