Something that I’ve been wondering about for a while is the question of what makes our ‘gospel community’ different to other communities around us.

We get together regularly, as a big group and in smaller groups. But then so do many of my non-Christian friends.

We help each other out with things like decorating and gardening. Our GC (gospel community) have been really wonderful with us since Eleanor was born. For a full week we didn’t have to cook for ourselves. They’ve helped with cleaning, and when I had to be away at a funeral yesterday and Jo was not well someone came round to be with her and help. They’ve been a real blessing. But then so have my non-Christian neighbours – they’ve brought food round and offered to help. And we thank God for his general grace that means there are these expressions of kindness and love among those who don’t know Jesus.

There are distinctives about our community though that you won’t find among non-Christians. We talk about the gospel for one thing. We challenge each other with the gospel and, although always tainted by sin, we do seek each other’s good as we challenge and encourage.

We talk a lot about ‘community’ and we do a lot of communal things, and recognisably community based things, just as other communities around us do. But what is going to mark us out as a community like no other? A community that can only be found among Christians?

Obviously the gospel being something that is talked about and applied is going to mark us out. But one particular application of the gospel is something that I think is missing.

Sacrifice.

We do serve each other and those outside our GC.

But I’m not sure we really serve others in a way that goes beyond that of the communities we see around us.

Jesus said that what marks us out is if we love each other.

And this was said in the shadow of the cross. That is the greatest love – to lay down our lives for others.

I’m not sure that we really do that. I can’t remember the last time I really did something that was painful for someone else. I can’t remember doing something that I didn’t want to do, but I did simply because it was loving to them. Even with my own daughter I find that difficult!

This has been something of a stream of consciousness, and so I’m sure there will be more formulated thoughts to follow… watch this space…

Advertisements