19 March 2009

Thankful Thursdays: Called Into Community

So many trains of thought have converged on this point, it's hard to know where to begin.

1) First, thanks to the homework Dr. Gamble assigned us over break, I was thinking about the contrast between Edmund Burke (who believed that individuals need tradition and community to be fully human, do good, even safely possess their rights) and Thomas Paine (who believed that individuals have rights and identity on their own, and community is simply a convenient arrangement made to protect them). Do we need a community? Is it an essential part of our existence as humans? Or are we just fine on our own, with community as an unnecessary option?

2) Then I was reading in the second chapter of 1 Peter and came across this passage. "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." Apparently we are indeed communal creatures. We need one another; God did not call me to be one isolated priest, one person out there on my own, but rather a member of an entire priesthood and people. That's how the Church works. God saves individuals but brings them immediately into a body . . . and body parts aren't dispensable.

3) Here's where the gratitude comes in. :o) We went to caregroup last night at the Bunting's house, and I realized how kind the Lord has been to provide this particular expression of His body. We are truly a community; we love and care for one another. How miserable it would be to live out the Christian life alone. But thanks be to God, we are His "holy nation, a people for His own possession," who now "proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light."

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