Tuesday, February 13, 2007
by John Fischer
There is hardly any human need stronger than the need to belong. We were created this way. Every one of us came out of a womb screaming for warmth, companionship, and someone else’s heartbeat. We were rudely ripped out of that idyllic existence and thrust into a cold, impersonal, and lonely world. No wonder babies cry. And the rest of our lives are spent trying to find that intimacy again. Everyone knows what this was because everyone had the same experience once – being so close to another that a heartbeat was a constant companion – and everyone knows that reuniting with others is a part of our common purpose in life. No man is an island.
Jesus prayed, “My prayer for all of them [his disciples and us] is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father – that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:21)
We were made to be together. We often think only in terms of our own spiritual lives and forget the fact that God is saving a people to come together for his glory. Salvation is not just an individual matter; it’s a group effort. It is when the Church functions as a whole that we give evidence to who we really are – the Body of Christ. That’s the Body of Christ, not the individual of Christ. No one can reflect, alone, who God made us to be. His will is expressed in all of us together. Together we are the Bride of Christ. (My grammar checker doesn’t like that last sentence because this concept challenges even our language. Since when is “bride” plural?) I am not the Bride; you are not the Bride. We are only the Bride in completion with all other believers in history and in the world. This is all part of God’s plan to bring us back together where we can hear each other’s heartbeat and experience the oneness that Jesus has with the Father.
So what does this mean for you and me today? It means we are not alone. We know where we belong. We need to give priority to our relationships with other believers because who we are depends on it. There is no such thing as individual spiritual growth. Check your calendar; arrange some lunches, and invite some neighbors over. Time put into people is time committed to God and his purposes.