How important is it to live in community? What do we perceive as community? Can we live in community? The bible speaks about the importance of living life together in community. In Acts 2 we read about the believers coming together in prayer, worship and fellowship. However today we see a fragmented church, where people live isolated lives and afraid to share with people because they are different to themselves.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says this about such people, “Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone. People who seek to live for themselves alone plunge into the bottomless pit of vanity, self infatuation and despair.”
Henri Nouwen (Dutch born Catholic Priest and writer) gives this provocative thought, “Community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives.”
We are all tempted to live under the illusion that somewhere out there are people who are normal. We look at other people and ask if only they were more like me then everything would be fine? What we don’t seem to realise is that people are asking the same question about us. The great theological truth for us to remember is this: Everybody’s Weird. The painful truth is that I am not normal but weird. We try to seperate the world into normal healthy people (like me) and difficult weird people.
The bible tells us that none of us are normal. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” All we sheep have gone astray.” As church we put up barriers on why we should not live in community; whether that is a discipleship group, Sunday fellowship or community living. God informs us that none of us are normal and the quicker you appreciate that you are weird, the better of your understanding of the importance of community.
Bonheoffer again gives us these words of wisdom, from his inspiring book ‘Life Together’ “Those who love the dream of a Christian Community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial.”
Remember it is so important to love your weird neighbour, because you and I are that neighbour.