As a commentary on the importance of human interaction, the English poet John Donne once wrote, “no man is an island unto himself.” From the moment each of us is born, we are initiated into a societal collective. We become a part of something we all desperately need, a community. Human beings were created to be social animals, and it’s through our communities that we interact with one another on a daily basis, forming bonds and relationships that will last a lifetime.
As Christians, we would do well to realize the dual nature of community; the secular and the spiritual. In regards to how we usually understand the term, communities are social gatherings and/or affiliations of people who share similar interests. Recreational sports leagues, book clubs, and political action groups are common examples of local communities that exist almost everywhere. People gather in these circles to socialize and connect with others who share similar interests, and again, these communities are an essential part of the human experience.
We need to engage in communities, and we need to be with one another. However, the Christian community is quite different from its worldly counterparts. As professing followers of Christ, we know that our bonds of fellowship are rooted in our shared identity as God’s holy community, and not in anything intrinsic to ourselves. Colossians 1:17 tells us, “He [Jesus Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
When we gather in church, in Bible study, or in other Christian events, we do so in order to bring glory to God. That’s our primary goal, and our Christian community, the church universal, is defined by our identity and purpose; the salt and light of the world. We pray, care for, and love each other in expressing our heartfelt unity through Christ, who is the metaphorical glue that binds us together. But, as the salt and light of the world, we know we mustn’t be content to live only within our Christian boundaries; we need to branch out, to interact with people from all walks of life; all the while keeping in mind our calling via the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19.
No individual or church is an island unto themselves, and we’re called to participate in our communities in sharing God’s love for His creation. So let’s remember the vital importance of community, and remember to be active members of the community where God has placed us according to His will.