Every Sunday morning we gather together. We wake up, get out of bed, ready ourselves, put on our Sunday best and head off to church.
Once there we might greet a few people while we find our way to the coffee before quickly finding our seats. We listen, we sing, we stand, we sit and then after a while walk out the doors to continue on with our day and start another week.
It’s a routine that we are all too familiar with. It’s one I’ve been doing since I was born. I was a church baby, baptized, raised and confirmed.
I was a very “good” church goer. My family and I sat in the same seats, in the front left hand side of the mezzanine, every Sunday morning, rarely missing one.
My sister and I attended Sunday School, vacation bible school, church camp and missions trips. We were involved in the church and knew people by name, BUT none of the people sitting alongside us were involved in our “life outside of church.” No one really knew us.
We came. We went.
It’s a rhythm we Christians have fallen into. Sunday has become a ritual, merely a part of our week, but not part of our lives.
This mindset has created barriers within the pews. Christians feel alone, especially inside church walls.
We are pressured to “have it all together,” to look and act the part. These pressures deter us from sharing our struggles and trials with one another. Instead, we share a Facebook version of ourselves, sifting through the content of our life before sharing it with others, applying a filter, a veneer before stepping inside.
Those around us, only know the filtered side, which in reality is a very small fraction of who we actually are.
Although involved in the same church, we are not involved in each other’s lives. We know little about the people around us, and they know little about us.
Inside we may be crumbling, slowly drowning from the weight of the world, but we continue to put on our Sunday best and smile.
It’s a poor state for the Church to be in. We are called to be more, to do more. We are the image bearers of the triune God. We were made for community just as the God we worship lives in perfect community. Yet we sit in silence.
Even in the garden before there was sin, man was meant to be in community with one another. God declares that “it is not good for man to be alone.” We see the Lord make Eve, and Adam and Eve lived together, naked and unashamed, and He declared it good.
We are called to walk with one another as Adam and Eve walked in the garden. By no means are we to unclothe ourselves, but we are to unveil ourselves to one another. We are to pursue one another, just as Christ pursues us.
We were never meant to just do Sunday mornings. We were meant to “do life together,” to be deeply involved in the lives of others, investing not just our time, treasures, or talents but our heart, reflecting the communal God we serve.
In the life of Jesus we are privileged to witness the community that he built with his disciples which is a small glimpse of the community he shares with God. They did not just attend Sabbath service and then go on about their separate lives. We see them walking with one another, doing life together, traveling, eating, sharing deep thoughts, concerns, trials.
They didn’t just meet up once a week, sit next to each other, sing some hymns, pray and leave. They walked alongside one another daily pursuing each other.
Church, we are commanded to this. We are called to this kind of community. The kind that doesn’t leave you when you step foot out of a building. The kind of community that impacts your life, melting your soul. The kind of community that’s honest, raw, real-life, day-to-day. The kind of community that changes you. Deep friendships woven together by the constant pursuit of one another, lavished and covered in God’s grace and love.
Somewhere deep inside I know you long for this as I do. You long to have people who know you, the real you, the messy you and don’t shy away. People that pursue you, asking how you are doing and not accepting “ok” as an answer. People that will walk with you, laugh with you when life is funny, celebrate with you when triumphs occur, stand there for you to lean into when days get rough. A family of deeper blood and thicker skin.
We long to be known, to be cared for, to be loved. Church we are called to this kind of community. Just walk in faith, pursue one another, love deeply as we have been commanded.