The Shared Life of Community

Devotional Thought as I prepare to leave Jiangmen

25 And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. 26 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. 27 All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (TEV)
14 Ask God to bless those who persecute you—yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16 Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Romans 12:14-16 (TEV)

“ Why don’t you try converting your whole life into the service of God—your work and your rest, your tears and your smiles? You can… and you must!” (1)

As I prepare to leave this city of Jiangmen, and head off to Macau, I am again consumed by a sense of homesickness, of missing my wife and son, and the people I fellowship. Yet in just a few days, I have come to like this city, its people, the road that runs beside the river with its trees, the noise and neon lights, the contrast of high-rises next to 100 year old brick and stone buildings. The people greeting me with a very enthusiastic “Jo-san” (not sure if spelling is correct)

The people aren’t different.  All have their hopes, their fears, the things they would hide, the laughter that reveals both mirth, and yet…. pain.  It is the same in America, or here in China, and in Italy, and in all the world.  Indeed, some of us, are so used to the tears and pain, I am not sure we know how to deal with estatic joy.

The challenge is to realize that God didn’t mean for us to bear our burdens alone.  They are meant to be shared.  Some couples can do this – yet – many cannot.  Never mind sharing both our joys and sorrows with our church families.  Or our fears and anxieties. The very thought causes more fear and anxiety.

We so need to realize the dynamic that happens when we are joined with Christ.  In each book that Paul writes, there is a need to address our community of faith – not just the local church but the church in its entirety.  We are joined together, and completely and intimately as we are joined with God – because we are joined in God.

That is how both our joys and pains can both serve God, not because we force them to by an act of will, but because they do as we are united in Christ.  It’s the outcome of who we are. For if indeed our bodies are living sacrifices, then everything we do and think and experience and feel – yes our emotions, becomes part of God’s tapestry – and can be used to glorify Him….

I think that is what has made this trip so memorable – seeing God bring home to me the unity of those He has made one in the faith.  Whether it be the pastors showing me their churches, the young Americans here to teach, the people I’ve been able to meet with and pray with….  God is there… having created a dynamic relationship – in Him

As we work together, one body, united in Christ. No walls dividing us, not age or ethnicity, not gender or intellect, not even sin….

That is what it means to be one holy, catholic and apostolic people who God has called together… in Him.

Go and embrace the work God does in your life today…knowing He is with you.

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2505-2507). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on January 24, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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