This is the beauty of the Church!
The church is a collective of creators and co-creators working together to paint a picture of God and His kingdom. God uses each of our gifts and talents to create a work infinitely greater than the sum of its parts.
The church is not just a building.
We are not just another organization.
We are not just some event to attend on Sundays.
We are part of a much larger story.
A story of redemption and renewal that God has been weaving together since the Fall in Genesis Chapter 3.
We are part of God’s dream for humanity.
"I have a dream"
The single most remembered American speech was a plea for all human beings one day being able to eat together at the table of fellowship, join hands and sing a common song. The speech remains because Martin Luther King, Jr. was articulating not just his dream, but the human dream, and I would argue, God’s dream for humanity.
Before history, God existed, in community.
Christianity teaches one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-eternal in being and co-equal in power and glory.
This kind of blows our minds, but it is vital, because it tells us that God himself has been experiencing community throughout eternity.
Community is rooted in the very nature of God.
The Christian God is not just a unit but a union; not just unity, but community.
In other words, the Christian God exists not as a vengeful, prideful, all-powerful, dictator but as a community of humility, servanthood, and more delight that you or I could ever imagine!
This also tells us something about our own hunger for community.
We were created for community.
God did not create human beings because he was lonely or bored.God created us because he was so in love with community that he wanted a world full of people to share it with. He wanted to invite us into the dance! So he creates human beings in his own image, with the capacity for relationship.
So God created human beings in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
In the Trinity, God is three and yet one. God creates human beings male and female - and the two become one. And when Jesus comes he prays for his followers, for the church, for all redeemed humanity to become one!
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
We were made to know oneness. God created us to be relational and invited us into the Trinitarian community.
In the garden we see a picture of community - between man and woman, creation and creator. And in the end, we have a vision of white-robed multitudes inhabiting the new earth singing praises to their creator. Taken as a whole, God’s mission is to bring into being a community of reconciled people, living within a renewed creation, and enjoying the presence of their Redeemer.
When God’s rule is fully present, when God’s glory is fully seen, when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven - community emerges.
In other words, we know that we have encountered God when we experience community.
When God’s people respond to the ugly divisiveness and violence of the world with the beauty of love, peace, and unity - this is the beauty of the Church!
“Beauty will save the world.” - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Today there are many in the Western world who are searching for some form of spirituality to give them what materialism (the de facto religion of our age) promises but is unable to deliver. There is a new interest in spiritual things. But the church is tempted to respond to a renewed spiritual interest by supplying logical arguments for the truth of Christianity (apologetics) or by also making a case for the moral goodness of Christianity (ethics).
This is fine. But something is missing.
To a skeptical world we are generally more accustomed to defend Christianity in terms of its truth and goodness. But beauty also belongs to the Christian faith. And beauty has a way of sneaking past defenses and speaking in unique ways. To a generation suspicious of truth claims and unconvinced by moral assertions, beauty has a surprising allure. And everything about Jesus Christ is beautiful! - Brian Zahnd
Every person you encounter, every moment of your life, is an opportunity to live in and extend the Beauty of the Trinity.
Every time you forgive somebody who has hurt you,
Every time you encourage someone who feels defeated,
Extend compassion to someone who stands alone,
Every time you confront someone in love,
Every time you open your heart to a new friend,
Every time you choose to reconcile with an old enemy,
Every time you devote time to children or the elderly,
Every time you work to create or sustain community,
you are joining with God’s central purpose in this world.
And to live within and contribute to God’s dream of community is the reason you were born.