Monday, January 5, 2015


There is a danger in thinking that people can connect with Christ while remaining disconnected from His Body.  In much of His instruction to us Christ emphasized that Christianity is something we do together.  This is why we have small group Bible studies, and breakfasts and lunches together, and potluck dinners and church anniversaries, and refreshments and baptisms, and Communion, and praying together, and visits in the hospital, and providing food in times of need.  It’s essential that people lovingly connect with one another because it evidences our loving connection with God.  John says in 1 John 4:19-21, We love because he first loved us.  Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 

Imagine a common scene of a family driving in a minivan or suv with dad listening to sports radio, mom talking on the phone, daughter texting, and son watching a movie on the back of his mother’s seat.  This is our culture today.  Everyone together, but alone.  In movie theaters, concert venues, and sports stadiums we sing, laugh, cry, and cheer powerfully together, and then leave without so much as a goodbye.

The outcome of our “individualistic ideology” is a society where intimate friendships are becoming rarer all the time.  Studies show that nearly a quarter of all Americans (twice as many as two decades ago) have no one with whom they can discuss things they consider important.  And the trend is not improving.  Boomers are more relationally isolated than their parents, and the children of Boomers are more isolated still.

Even in the church, isolation can exist.  But we are not meant to go to church alone.  When in Jesus’ name we lay down our lives for one another and engage in one another’s lives for the sake of love and encouragement, we become a powerful witness of God’s love.  And that is a huge difference from our consumer culture that uses people up and then excludes those no longer useful.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “It is the fellowship of the Cross to experience the burden of the other.  If one does not experience it, the fellowship he belongs to is not Christian.”  We can’t have intimacy with Christ and remain aloof from his Body.  We can’t worship God and claim, “I’m not my brother’s keeper.”

None of us really wants to be left alone.  We really do want to be “bothered” with questions from those who care.  To love others is to risk thawing the ice of isolation… even if sometimes you get a cold shoulder.

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