Well friends, it’s time once again for you to do my homework. I’m back at Christ Community Church this Sunday, this time in the pulpit instead of behind the piano. The message topic is “The One-Another Life”.
I started scanning through the New Testament, and pulling out verses that command us to ______ one-another. There are roughly 600 million of them. Love one-another, pray for one-another, encourage one-another, forgive, be at peace with, serve, be kind to … it’s a catalog of instructions for how we should live together as believers. Or, as people even. So, some scattered thoughts that are coalescing into a message:
- Very few of the Christian Virtues (patience, compassion, gentleness, humility) are solo endeavors. They require another person to be put into action upon.
- The one-another commands are practical application of internal virtues. The act of patience toward someone else exercises my humility muscle. Humility muscle. That sounds weird. I’ll probably phrase that a little differently.
- The church is a practical workshop for training up virtue by means of community interaction. It’s where we practice the best expressions of ourselves. I don’t mean this in an exclusive way, that we save the best of ourselves for making the club a nice place to hang out. More like a gym, where we build up the strength that we then use to do the things we ought to do when we go out into the world.
- This kind of one-anotherness requires messy and intrusive relationships. In any room full of 100 people, there is somebody who badly needs a mentor, somebody else who needs help watching the kids while they go to school at night, somebody who is struggling with the same failing sin over and over, and needs somebody to step in and call them on it. All of these things require us to be close enough to each other that we get to peak into private spaces. Peak into private spaces. That sounds awkward. I’ll phrase that differently too.
- The thing is … I don’t like that idea. I like space. I often feel like I don’t have much in common with “church folk”, and the idea of letting them into my life far enough to practice the one-anothers in a meaningful way makes me uncomfortable. Like, really, really uncomfortable. I don’t like small groups or home churches. They are, well … weird.
Thoughts? Input? Suggestions? Angry personal slurs? Let ‘em rip! P.S., if you don’t have anyplace to be this Sunday, head on down to Christ Community Church at 10:15. It’ll be a hoot!