Community in the Face of Division

If you interact with any kind of social media and have been watching the news, the verbal sling that has been slung has been brutal and biting. People have lost friends, made enemies, and been left with a bitter and narrow view of community. The name of Jesus Christ has been wielded like a bludgeon from opposite sides of opinion. If Facebook could bleed, it would look like a battle field where friend and foe find something in common: a life filled with the bloody  cries of the wounded.

This Sunday’s sermon stems from Genesis 2:18-24 and Ephesians 5:21. The idea we will be exploring is that we are not meant to be alone. We are made for community and for one another, but in a world so dominated by mistrust, anger, fear, and entitlement, how can we actually find that community? The answer can almost be as controversial as the purveying dialogue in our society.  The answer is Jesus Christ.

I can almost hear groans as well as cheers. But this is no mere trite answer. I understand the reason for weariness when it comes to the name of Jesus Christ.  The name has been wielded to wage wars of opinion, to sway vote, influence, and manipulation. Within and without the church, this bent to use Jesus Christ as a puppet has often been the root cause to derision and division. God is not an idol we wield. God is the creator who in-dwells.

We want community, we long for unity and we have vague ideas how to get there. The Christian teaching tells us that the only way to be kind, to live as Christ, is to have a servant heart. The servant heart is one that is filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that forms the servant heart and servant that is the foundation for any good relationship.

Timothy Keller, author and preacher, says the following are 3 evidences and benefits of the Spirit of a servant heart:

  1. The ability to hear criticism without being crushed
  2. The ability to give criticism without crushing.
  3. The ability to forgive people without residual anger.

In short, it is the ability to take your mind off yourself and discover your value in the heart of God.

You see, in order for us to be made whole in community and become the people we are destined to be, we must have the mind of Christ. That means we must have Christ dwelling in us, wielding our Spirit as we yield to his. When we stop using the name of Christ as a weapon and allow Christ to use us as a means of grace,we will find good life happening, healthy conviction working, safe struggle emerging, and lives transforming into the image of God. We will find that we can lift up and be lifted up as we work out what Christ is working within us.

This Sunday we will explore this teaching of community and a servant heart. What difference would living this make in your life? Have you seen examples of the servant heart in action. Feel free to share your opinions and thoughts by clicking the dialogue button in the top right corner of this post.

Prayer:

  1. Be in prayer for your enemies.
  2. Be in prayer for a servant heart.
  3. Be in prayer for God’s healing in our fractured communities.
  4. Be in prayer for forgiveness and reconciliation.
  5. Be in prayer for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
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