This is Day 2 of 31 Days of Intentional Community. Thanks for reading along!
intentional: done with intention or on purpose; intended.
community: a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists; Ecclesiastical definition: a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.
I like that last part of the definition because that's how I see it. As Christians, the "rule" our community should be according to is simple: Love God, love others.
Matthew 22:36-40 says,
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Throughout the month I plan to encourage you with other scriptures (probably on the weekend days) that pertain to this whole idea, but the crux of it really is loving God and loving others. That's why we make the sacrifices necessary to spend time with others even when it's not that convenient (read: raising small children) or why we put ourselves out there to make new friends even when it's uncomfortable or why we open our homes to others.
However community plays out, it all comes back to the command of loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Community does come in a lot of forms. If I think about it, for my family, we've got our own nuclear family, our extended family, our neighbors, our friends outside of the neighborhood, our long-distance friends, our co-workers, our church family, our school/club friends and probably more.
It can be overwhelming to think of cultivating all these relationships, but if God has called us to all these places than He will equip us to love these people and show us how we can be a blessing to them. We reach out to all the people in our lives to intentionally show them God's love. That's our purpose as we live out our days.
I'll be exploring a variety of topics related to this community them this month and I'll be honest, I'm really pumped about it! God has been stirring in my heart over the last few years to develop this passion more and it's really been a blessing to grow in this area. I'm excited to hear how you've been blessed, and what your struggles have been in community as well.
This is (part of) my Community Group (or CG as we affectionately call it). I'll probably mention our CG this month because that is where much of our own intentional community happens. These people are a big part of our life, because we really strive to do life together.
If you tend to be a bit of an isolationist, one of my goals by the end of this month is that you will feel inspired to find a close-knit group of people who you can consider to be your core community. And if you consider yourself a believer, I can't encourage you enough to get involved in a small group with your church. It can be a really life-changing experience.
Let's start simply to get the discussion going... if you have a minute, come share in the comments what forms community takes in your life (family, friends, church, etc). Tomorrow, I'll dip into the topic of authenticity.