God has destined us for community. Since Genesis, we have been designed to participate in collective bodies. Ultimately, God Himself lives in community with Himself (trinity), and by His grace, extends an invitation to participate this majestic community. We find purpose in this community. Our intended design, our meaning, is to come into community with God!
His son Jesus went as far as the humiliation of the cross to bring us into the life-giving purpose of community.
However we do not merely participate from an individual standpoint, as secular American society tricks us into believing. As God made humanity as a family, emphasizing the goodness of being together, we find our secondary ultimate purpose: living in community with one another.
“For the entire law is fulfilled on one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal. 5:14). God gave the Jews the Law to teach them proper communal living with both God and each other. When we disobey this mandate to live as a community, sin enters the picture: “If you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.” (Gal. 5:15).
In other words, we’re not to merely acknowledge each other’s presence, and restrain from doing each other harm (the message of world religions). The radical re-orientation of Christianity occurs in this: as Christ poured his life ultimately to attain and cleanse us for community, so are we to pour our lives into each other! This is the radical Christian community! The concept of discipleship! The pouring of lives for one another to reflect God’s pouring of His son into ours! Our ultimate model is in Christ, and as followers we are to emulate the sharing of this thing called life. The acting of this verb called love.
More than any other illustration, God describes us as a family. A bride and bridegroom. Brothers and sisters. We must not confuse the terms. We are not the simple worldly community that calls us to respect communal laws and presence. We are not merely a family bounded by blood relations. We are bonded by the fulfillment of laws in Jesus, and the bounding of sin by His blood!
We are a spiritual family, adopted into God, and called to live, serve, minister, and love as a community. A body. A single entity under Jesus’ lordship and example.
The challenge is as follows: With the golden opportunity of living in an actual seminary community, how are you living? Are your relationships merely associations? Simple friends? Shared identities in a seminary-academic institution? A vocation? Do you see it as merely a ‘responsibility’?
Or, is it something greater? Does it reflect the worldly examples of friendships, community, and family, or does it reflect the radical Holy Spirit empowered, Jesus-modeled, communal family under God?
If the former, how then will you move towards the two ‘Great Commandments’ (Matt. 22:37-40)? How then, shall you live with your Brothers and Sisters?
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself.” (Gal. 6:2-3).
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples. If you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).