I want to have a place.
I want to be accepted and known and loved.
Can you relate? Of course, you can!
A very popular buzzword today connected to this hope is “authentic community.” There is a common human desire to be part of a group that is real and honest. We want to be included in a group that does not need to pretend to be something they are not. We desire to be able to trust the people that say they care for me. We want to be confident that there are not ulterior motives or passive aggressive interactions to cause us to doubt what is said or what appears to be the truth.
Even though there is virtually a universal hope for authentic community it is extremely rare to actually experience it. The reason for that is that everyone has a different definition and understanding of how it should look. Since that is the case, all these ideas compete and end up clashing with each other. Another way of phrasing the dilemma would be – “I love living life with others if I get to set all the rules and everyone else keeps them.”
The Authentic Community called the Church is really the only hope for this kind of gathering to exist in this world. The reason for this hope is that the Universal Church of Jesus Christ or the people that make up Oak Hill should adhere to a defined truth found in Scripture and worship an eternal ruler that is beyond any of momentary or personal preference whims. When we are at our best we serve and put each other first. We celebrate that we are members of God’s family and kingdom instead of chasing and positioning to create our own kingdom.
Our Biblical community is grounded in grace. We live with an understanding that we are given a place in the family of God because of His great love. We don’t need to wonder if we are measuring up or if we are keeping up with our dues. We are purely a part of this community because God is great, and He is good. In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians we see in the fourth chapter how we are to live in love and unity
imitating our God.
- 1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
- 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
United with you,