I have been convinced for quite a few years that one of the fundamental gifts of the doctrine of the Trinity is it's assurance that we are made for community and that the image of God is more realised in a community context. But it's always interesting to see how it works itself out practically. Last year I rejoined a football team after several years of not playing, it's been a hard journey back to fitness but the adrenaline that comes from playing a team (community) sport has carried me. Training with others is so much easier…. We are made for community.
Late last year my wife began a weight watchers points counting diet, she struggled along and then 6 weeks ago I started too, we have both found the lifestyle change easier now two of us are doing it – we support encourage and lift each other, we remind each other of the points we are allowed – and we break the diet occasionally together…. We are made for community.
I have just been talking with friends about spiritual disciplines and mission orders, groups of people who combine and work together to fulfil a set of spiritual obligations that by themselves they would not be able to do, but together through supporting, encouraging and reminding each other they achieve things in God's name…. We are made for community.
What of the church? In the church calendar it is currently Lent, when I grew up in a Catholic school lent was a community observance the class and the school gave things up and used the extra income for child sponsorship, we challenged each other, we wanted to win, but we were in this together. Flip forward 30 odd years and Lent is a personal discipline – I give up this, you give up that and like New Year resolutions we all give up after two days…. We are made for Community.
Without the community observing these things it all seems pointless, empty and difficult, we need the inspiration of the sport team with a common goal – to win, the standing alongside each other to lose a target weight, the supporting each other as we rigorously try to follow God. The challenge of each other to be obedient…. We are made for community; it is in our DNA, through each other God breathes into life the image he has placed within us.