The Beloved Community
What is the most distinct thing about the Christian community?
Two missteps ...
To think that we are more moral than other people
This holier-than-thou attitude drives people outside the Christian community crazy. It makes them feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. And on top of that, it's not true!
The Christian community, if you scratch the surface, ain't perfect. We lie and cheat and hurt each other. We get arrested and have skeletons in the closet.
To think that we are more useful than other people
Many of us inside of the Christian community act like God recruited us for our jump shooting ability. He saw us playing before the foundation of the earth and knows that, with the Holy Spirit and a regimen of planking and squat-thrusts, we will change the world.
But God doesn't talk about our potential hardly at all. Instead, he talks about his choice, his initiative, his love.
And this love is what makes us distinct.
The most distinct thing about the Christian community ... we're loved by Jesus
In Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul sets to work to rework the household codes of ancient Rome, demonstrating the impact of the gospel on the closest inter-personal relationships ... but he gets distracted.
When talking about the love and respect that should characterize marriage, Paul wanders off and starts talking about the relationship between Christ and the Christian community.
And it's marked by love.
Love of mysterious origin
Love characterized by sacrifice
Love that brightens, cleans, presses and purifies
Is this what comes to mind when you think about Christ and the church?
Photo courtesy Morgue File and earl53