Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a faithful pastor in Nazi Germany who spoke out against the Nazis, wrote a book about “Life Together”. In this seminal book, he works hard to dispel the idea of the “ideal” church – because it does not exist. He paints the picture of the real church, full of broken people – and the sooner we get over the picture in our head of the “perfect” church, the sooner we can get to the real work of community.
Bonhoeffer has a great line in the book: “The one who is unable to be alone is unfit for community. The one who is unable to be in community is unfit to be alone.” We need each other – and those who only want to be alone are not healthy, and need to connect. There are those who want to isolate and be alone – or get endless hours of one-on-one counseling – when what they really need to find God’s health and healing is to be in community and serve. There are others who always want to be around others; they do not pray much and hate being alone – they even check Facebook in the bathroom! What these people really need is to deal with being alone, and knowing their identity in Christ alone, and having a strong prayer life – only then can they truly contribute to community in a healthy way.
At Covenant Grove we have a lot of Relationships. We have greeters, pray together, hug a lot, and eat food together. We serve together on Teams – intentionally setting up ministry in a way that allows for connections. We have stellar Life Groups and Youth and College/Career Groups that allow people to connect, share life, study the Bible, challenge and support each other, and serve together. These relationships are not a substitute for our relationship with the Father, but a way of living out and experiencing His love – serving each other and forgiving each other. There will be conflict in any relationship – and we can love and be patient and forgive each other through hard times – and continually work to walk closer to Christ who never gives up on us.
Together – this serving, forgiving, sacrificing, laughing, eating, sharing, inviting, helping, and more – is called “Fellowship”. Koinonia is the Greek word – and it means sharing life together – the life of Christ. We have a special bond. God has called us together to know Him, experience community, and join His mission to the world. May we continue to grow in relationships and invite others in to experience this joy!