Placed inside each in every one of us is a certain desire, a yearning if you will, for a since of purpose greater than ourselves. We see it moving throughout the centuries, weaving its way through era’s and trends, starting movements and corporations, inspiring technologies, movies, songs and even clothing. When we find it, we know we’ve captured something that our soul has been craving, even though we can’t exactly describe what we’ve found. When we encounter a counterfeit, we leave feeling confused, misunderstood and even scarred, questioning the voice of our heart and even building walls of protection that can hinder and mask what we were made for. We were made for a home; to belong; for community.
Community is one of those cliché words I used to roll my eyes at when sitting in school hearing my professors talk about it’s importance, or hearing a pastor stress it’s relevance in a church. OKAY. We get it. We need one another. We need healthy community. But I don’t think we really grasp its importance until we see it gone badly. For example: Fresh off the heels of WWI we see a tattered and defeated German army and government. Convinced they were actually winning the war through political falsehood and propaganda, they were shocked and in awe at the defeat. In walks Adolf Hitler. A brave soldier in WWI, Hitler led a community of defeated and downtrodden people with enthusiasm and hope. He believed for a new and brighter day, a unification and uplifting of the German people. But that community was unified with a horrific cost.
We see the opposite however in the early Christian church. In the second century Greco-Roman culture, Christians were drawing interest from society due to their tight knit, non-traditional culture. Early Christian writer Tertullian noted the generosity in earthly possessions Christians showed toward one another was a major factor of their community. Here we see both Jew and Greek coming together in community unified over a purpose: the risen savior Jesus Christ. Needless to say one culture died with time, and one tiny persecuted community has lasted to our present day.
The Church and Hipsters???
We as people are identifiers. We long to identify ourselves with others of like-mindedness while also loving the identifying factors that make us unique. We see this in trends like the hipster movement (if this offends you…sorry not sorry). This entire movement centers around the idea of unity within individuality. The most obvious way we see this played out is clothing. Tight jeans, old warn out converse, flannels and deep v-necks, man buns and half sagging beanies on the back of heads…yep. You know what I’m talking about. But within that style we see the talents of individuals being uplifted. Think about the incredible artwork, photography, videography, poems, songs, and lyrics all done by this community of likeminded yet different people.
Ringing any bells? The church is just this. We don’t exist to create a community of like-minded, similarly looking, middle class white Americans who all make around the same amount of money and love hiking, homemade granola and baseball. The beauty of the church is that we are a mosaic. We’re all pieces of a brilliant and masterfully designed human race uniting around the foot of the cross, the teaching of the apostles, the glorious hope of resurrection, the mission of the church, the Kingship of Jesus Christ, the communion of saints, and the loving salvation that comes from our risen savior! We’re colorful, bilingual, multi-racial and beautiful. We’re messy, broken, hurting works in progress that need one another. And that’s why we’re here.
Welcome home! Welcome to the family. You’ve been adopted. I’ve been adopted. We’re now apart of the lineage of the saints! You’re now a member of a moving community who shares a history with Adam, Abraham, David, John, Paul and JESUS! You’ve been written in to God’s amazing manuscript for the redemptive purposes of the church! You belong here.
Interested in digging in to the contents of this post a little more? I would encourage you over the next week or so to read through the book of Acts and specifically look at Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-35. Pray about how God wants to use you in your job and local church to help serve others. You can even join a volunteer group here in YA!
Love you all!