Are You In Community?

Let me tell you a story from the book of Mark in the Bible. Mark is one of the four books that tells us about Jesus’ life and ministry here on earth 2000 years ago.  Mark 2:1-12:

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.

They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.

Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.

Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

There are two types of people in this story –

  1. The Crowd – those who gathered to get a good view of Jesus and hear what He had to say
  2. The Community – a group of men who sacrificed their position before Jesus in order to get their friend at His feet.

I feel we use this word “community” all the time. You live in your local suburbs “community”. You can be involved in the school “community”. The sporting club “community”. The dance “community”.

And while we use this word often, I would challenge that often these “communities” are only crowds. They are a gathering of people. They may be there for the same reason but they’re not looking out for each other. They don’t know each other’s needs, they don’t know where each other hurts and they don’t know their dreams for the future.

It is easy for us to be in a crowd. It happens regularly. When you’re at the shops, at a concert, in a large meeting, at a sporting event… even when you come to church. That’s right, for some people the church is a crowd. It’s a group of people who have gathered together. But are we in community?

Dr Larry Crabb, a Christian psychologist, speaker and author, wrote: “A central task of community is to create a place that is safe enough for the walls to be torn down, safe enough for each of us to reveal our brokenness.”

How safe do you feel to “reveal your brokenness” with the people you are around?

If we truly want to be a community, if we truly want to be a place where we can “reveal our brokenness” then we need to create a space that is safe, supporting and loving.

Lord, we can tell You anything and know that You love us and want what is best for us. May we work hard to create these Godly communities for the people who come into our lives as well. Amen.

Whose stretcher are you carrying? How well are you creating a safe community for those in need?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.