Summary: We are moving from talking about Community to starting a look at worship. part 5
February 5, 2017
For the past 4 weeks we’ve been talking about community. We know it’s important, but we often struggle with community. We get confused about how to cultivate real relationships, we struggle once we’re in them, and sometimes when 2 or 3 are gathered, we make community something which is not to be desired.
So, what do we do? We find community in other places. We may go to the bar. We may join a community organization, we may volunteer somewhere hoping to find what we long for. We may get involved in the church, we may even do nothing . . . or we can do what so many other people have done . . .
Get involved in cyber-communities. Yup, cyber-communities are communities you find on the internet. There was Cy-World in South Korea. Cy-World was proclaimed to be a “parallel universe unto itself. It combines aspects of 'simulated reality' computer games … with massive multiplayer online games that have thousands of players facing off simultaneously in what's known as a 'persistent world.'
Cyworld wasn't a game; the goal wasn't to slay dragons or accumulate points but to socialize with 'cybuddies.'" The website said, Cyworld "emphasizes relationships between relatives, neighborhood friends, and co-workers — people who have already met in real life but yearn to also hang out online."
Don’t we have that as well? We had MySpace, anyone remember that? Then we moved on to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and whatever is next.
When you think about it, our world is becoming more and more impersonal. It's easier to hang out with friends in an online virtual world, than to have face-to-face interaction. We’ve become less interactive with family and friends. We'd rather talk to someone via texting, than to actually talk to them.
When you think about the younger generation, consider the difficulties I believe they will have communicating when all they do is text, and don’t really talk to one another. For those who grew up before the texting age, do you remember having a boy or girl friend. You spoke to them on the phone, as weird as it was, and as exhilirating as it was . .. You communicated and they heard your voice, and understand your humor. OK! Rant over!
I once heard a story about a family where each person had a computer in his or her own bedroom, and the kids would talk to each other and to their parents using chat, instead of sitting in a room talking face-to-face. I wonder if the church has followed the ways of this world and become more virtual than real? And how can we reclaim true community and worship in the church?
In Romans 12:1-8, the apostle Paul offers some practical steps for us to truly grow as a community of brothers and sisters in Christ.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,
but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. — Romans 12:1-8
We may look around the sanctuary and say, "That person is not like me. We don't look alike. We don't have the same interests." But God says we are one body through our common faith in Jesus Christ. No family is perfect, but we do belong to each other.
Most people love their families. Let's start with parents. We love our parents, but as we all know, our parents can drive us crazy. They know exactly what to do and say that will "push our buttons." There are times we’ve said hurtful things to them, and we've embarrassed them. Yet, at the end of the day, the common trait that binds us together is that we share the same blood. For this very reason, we love them no matter how much they frustrate us and drive us crazy.