The Church Post-Covid Part 2: Community in the Body of Christ
May 27, 2021 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
After more than a year of stay-at-home orders, quarantines, and social distancing, we need to be reminded that God made us for community. Yes, I understand the science behind how viruses spread and the dangers of covid-19. With the best information at the time, the elders of Oak Hills made decisions to safeguard against the spread of covid. We understand that some are more susceptible to the virus and have needed to take extra precautions. None of this, however, takes away from the truth that God made us for community in the body of Christ.
Take into consideration Romans 12:4-5, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Paul goes on to highlight the differing gifts of grace we receive. The point is, just as the individual parts of the human body cannot survive on their own, so also the followers of Christ cannot survive independently of the body of Christ. The phrase “members one of another” speaks to the reality of our interconnectedness. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” God unites us into one body. There is no such thing as a lone-ranger Christian.
Or consider Ephesians 4:15-16, “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Paul packs a lot into this single sentence. At its core is the call to grow in spiritual maturity; Jesus, as the head of the church, is the benchmark for maturity. But then Paul explains that we grow in maturity only when the body is joined together, and each part is working properly. In a nutshell, verse 16 says “the whole body makes the body grow.” No one grows in maturity apart from the body of Christ.
We can continue to look at other passages, but the bottom line is God made us for community in the body of Christ. Ideally, that community would perfectly reflect Romans 12:9-18. But alas, ideals will never be realized in this broken, sinful world. That’s why we also have the exhortation of Ephesians 4:31-32 (considered last week, discussing unity). An imperfect community is no justification for excluding oneself from the community. This is God’s design, and it magnifies the greatness of the Gospel.
What does this practically mean for us?
1. Do not Exclude Yourself from the Community of the Body of Christ. God has designed your spiritual well-being to be dependent on your connection with the body of Christ. That connection has been disrupted this last year by the pandemic, but we should never grow comfortable in isolation. We need the body.
2. Do Not Let the Imperfection of the Community Lead You to Give Up on the Community. Let’s be gracious with one another, especially after this last year. We do not want to be complacent in our imperfect community, but we also don’t want to be judgmental with unrealistic expectations. Let us press on in pursuing a love that is genuine (Rom. 12:9), a love that covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8).
As we come back together “post-covid,” let us commit to the community in the body of Christ.