Community is the second aspect of the call to intimacy. It is impossible to love God and not love those who carry His image and likeness. We are designed for community. Our very existence comes from the intimate relationship of Father, Son and Spirit. It is our design. We are made for heart to heart connection. When God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” I always assumed He was only talking about marriage and male-female relationships. Logically, though, marriage leads to families. Families lead to communities and communities make up cities. For most of my life I assumed if it was me and God alone on a desert island, that would be the perfect life. But in Genesis, when God and Adam had a perfect relationship, God’s evaluation was “It was not good.” God was saying we need more than a relationship with Him. We need each other.
The reality of our situation is we have been hiding in the bushes since our time in the garden, covering our nakedness, ashamed of who we are and our faults and imperfections. In the midst of that, Father is calling us back to Him and each other. One thing I find fascinating is that throughout church history, those who have felt called to solitude and seclusion, like the Desert Fathers, have still ended up in communities, and the richness of those communities has drawn the world to it. What if the quality of our love for each other led seekers to intimacy with Father? Isn’t that what Jesus said should happen?
Now we find ourselves in the greatest setup of all time. We live in a world where almost everyone is carrying a portal to vast storehouses of information, but inside of us, we have the potential to be streams of living water to those around us. At our fingertips are stockpiles of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but our true purpose is Life. What an incredible opportunity God has given us!
Honestly, this may be the hardest thing we are called to. I struggle with connecting outside my comfort zone. I know the transformational possibilities. I see the glory hiding in each person. But, it is awkward. It is hard work. I fear rejection. Vulnerability is difficult and may not be reciprocated. Connection and community cannot be forced.
But God has given us the greatest tool for breaking barriers, sitting around a table and sharing a meal. Eating together is such a simple thing to do, but it is so profound and beautiful. It is so human that it equalizes and levels the playing field. I’ve heard it said that Jesus ate His way through the gospels. We are walking in His footsteps by eating and connecting with those around us. We have started small but we see bigger things coming