Community: How the Church Includes us
Please see my previous post on Christ Satisfies.
Growing up, I wasn't good at meeting people or making friends. My community was my extended family, they were mostly Christians. I really thought that was enough, that I needed nothing more. Eventually we moved to a bigger city to be with our parents. I moved there when I was twelve and so all those years until I graduated from high school, I began to learn people skills.
No doubt, I had a circle of friends. Yet no matter how close we were, I always hesitated to tell them the inward troubles that I had concerning my Christian walk with the Lord, my family issues, and so on. Most people thought I was friendly but very reserved.
Until one day, our family was hit by a major crisis. Everything seemed to be okay outwardly but inside, I felt quite devastated. The problem was I could not find a single person to go to. At that time, I didn't want to talk to my family about the matter lest I'd cause more troubles in their hearts.
It was shocking considering I already had family and friends but I told the Lord that I would like to go home. I distinctly remember walking around the neighborhood, asking Him: who am I, where do I belong?
Around the corner, I saw my mom standing in front of the house so I asked her, "Who am I?" I know it probably sounds quite dramatic or rather absurd to you, but I really did ask the question to my mom.
Her answer was "you are a child of God."
If that answer was spoken in another context, maybe I'd say, that was random. However, I truly believe her answer was the Lord's answer to my questioning because those words immediately scattered away my confusion. There was a response within me, a ringing of absolute trueness in my being that indeed I am a child of God and I belong to His household.
You know what's so striking about this experience of mine?
1 Timothy 3:15 says,
"But if I delay, I write that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth."
What's so striking is how this experience shows that the Church, which is the household of God, does not include us by virtue of our signing up to be a member of a church or a church community. The church includes us because when we received Christ into our being, we were begotten of God to be a child of God (see John 1:12-13). According to 1 Timothy 3:15, we are included in the Church because we are part of the household of God.
I then realize that yes, the Church includes us and it is our community because we share the same Christian values, and yet there's more! The Church is practically our family because we all have the same life, the same Father. One thing for sure, the Church is not that brick-building down the street, but this aspect of being the household of God is just one of the many functions of the Church.
Do you have any experience on how the Church includes us in other aspects or functions?