As I continue to learn and experience the rhythm of life at Trinity I have been impressed by the way that Trinity comes together as a community, working together on various projects. Attending my first Lions’ Car Draw Dinner this year, and seeing the various volunteers come together to put on that dinner was impressive. It was also wonderful to see the church community involved in the wider community. In the week that followed Trinity then coordinated three more events, a Rally Sunday Lunch, the Steak BBQ and catering the 95th birthday party for Ruth Wood hosted by her family. In each of these events, the community of Trinity came together to serve others, through food and fellowship.
Community is an essential part of who we are and who we are called to be as Christians. Jesus throughout his ministry invited people into a community, into a relationship with God and with others. The community that Jesus formed around him was at times a very unlikely mix of people, those who might not otherwise associate with each other. We often think of the sinners and tax collectors, but there were others who would have been considered part of the establishment who were also part of his community, people like Simon the Pharisee, Nicodemus and Jairus among others. Jesus’ ministry often took part in community whether it was walking along the road, or in fellowship around a meal. He stressed in teaching about the kingdom of God the importance of being community and his final words to the disciples was a command to go out and build community, teaching others and inviting them into community.
Community is at the heart of our identity as Christians, as we see in the baptism service and especially the Baptismal Covenant which helps to define for us what we believe and how we live that out. We ask parents who present their children for baptism, “will you see that the child you present is nurtured in the faith and life of the Christian community?” In the Baptismal Covenant which we join in reaffirming at each baptism we are asked, “Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?” reminding us of the importance of being together in community. Community which forms us, supports us and when necessary corrects us.
Community does not mean that we will always agree on everything, or always get along with each other. Community means to come together around our common faith in Jesus Christ, as brothers and sisters in Christ to support one another, to serve the wider community together, to worship and praise God and to seek God’s will for our own lives and for our common life together as the people of God here in this place. Community requires effort on our part, to work through differences, to sacrifice for the common good, speaking the truth and listening to each other with love and grace. The rewards of community far exceed the challenges of being community.
As we seek to be God’s people in this place, at this time, may we seek to grow in community with each other, nurturing and supporting one another and serving our wider community in Jesus’ name. May the strength of our community as evidenced in the events in the past month be strengthened even further as we continue to place Jesus and the kingdom of God at the heart of who we are and what we do.