Although apartments stack seemingly endlessly upon each other as urban density exponentially increases, life in the city can feel solitary. When your neighbors sign a one-year lease, is it worth taking the time to get to know them? Without intentionality, no readily apparent reason emerges for beginning a relationship with an apartment neighbor. Homeowners can dialogue with neighbors over fences, mowed lawns, and neighborhood softball tournaments. We apartment dwellers, on the other hand, don’t rely on our urban neighbors for sustenance, entertainment, or help. Instead, we drive to a store.
The American marketplace has replaced the American neighbor.
Outside the congested cities resides community life. In smaller areas, people lean on others to survive; they know each other’s business and the sense of self is defined more by the group than by the individual. This group is not a gathering of like-minded individuals around a hobby or passing fad; it is people helping people no matter the circumstances.
In Week 7 of Winter Quarter’s Lectio, Dr. David Nienhuis discusses the sermon on community in Matthew 18:
“Christian community is not a social club or a center for ‘worshiptainment,’ but a training ground for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a place people go in order to submit to the training of a loving Coach who embraces us as we are and then uses our fellow community members to reshape us into the kind of people he calls us to be.”
Is your church experience more a gathering for a hobby or a necessity for the subsistence of yourself and others?