Built for Community
Independent – not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.
Interdependent – mutually dependent on each other.
How are you doing? I mean how are you really doing? At our house we have been talking about the oddity of initial questions like these when we see our friends again. Like “How are you, and what have you been up to the last five months since we last spoke?” That’s an impossible question to answer in 30 seconds! Maybe you’ve felt the same way – how do I even reconnect with people now? Even worse, how do I know how they feel about getting together? Are they strict mask wearers or not? Do they want to connect with people again right now, or do they want to wait until it is less risky?
Our independence has cost us relationships in the last five months. Why is that? God created us for relationship, for interdependence. Pastor Jones told us a few weeks ago that we are a corporate body, and you couldn’t be truly isolated if you tried because you are part of this body no matter what! But even so, if you are like us, we are staring at each other while isolated in our house, saying something like “I love you all, but we need to see other people in our community!” God built us for fellowship, for “iron sharpening iron”, for banding together. But we have been unable to do life together and feel human touch outside of our immediate family since March. Face-to-face relationships are important for several reasons, but one of the greatest is that when we spend time together, we remember each other’s heart. We remember that we love each other (wanting God’s best for that person), and we have more grace for one another. When we are apart, just one degree of directional difference becomes a great distance if you’re not checking in and re-aligning along the way. We need the connectedness because we are truly built to be interdependent. It is almost like in the midst of so much noise around us, we need permission to do what feels natural and to be what God created us to be – to glorify Him, in community, while loving Him and others. God exists as three in one…He has community within Himself, but we do not have that supernatural ability!
So, what do we do now? We must find ways to fellowship, to be in community, and to love each other! While the church has to be cautious and thoughtful in what we can corporately embrace when together, yet as individuals and small groups, we can be much freer to spend time together! It almost feels like we need permission to gather, but we do not actually need permission to be the body of Christ, to love one another, and to commune with each other. It is possible you may not even agree with this article, and I am okay with that too. So, let us think of some ideas for how we can be in fellowship during this fall:
Invite another family over for dinner – someone you know well or someone you want to know better. Perhaps you’re thinking of a family you sit near in worship but haven’t seen.
Have a block party – invite friends over for a driveway party and bring their own picnic.
Maybe you want to say “yes” to gathering but you just aren’t sure. Start really small.
Worship together via live stream – what if you invited another family or two over to watch the live stream worship service, then had lunch and discussion time together – extending worship into fellowship during the Lord’s Day.
Bonus points if you invite non-churchgoers to join you in any of these!
Perhaps you just aren’t ready to be in person… try a FaceTime call or video call with another person or family.
Invite a friend or family over to engage in your favorite hobby.
If all of this seems just too much, start with one small step: call someone and ask odd questions on the phone like, “Is your family okay with such-and-such…?”
If you check in with church families and everyone is okay to gather, then just do it! And let us have grace for one another regardless of their position. If you are not comfortable gathering, that’s ok! If you are comfortable with gathering, be the first one to reach out. Don’t wait for others to reach out to you! Let’s see how we can informally gather as Christ’s body in ways that breathe life back into our interdependent selves. We are, after all, uniquely part of one family.
~ Jason Coffey