During this past weekend’s retreat with the Trinity men I thought a lot about the meaning of community. The experience of community is critical not only for spiritual growth but for psychological health too. Fact is – and I’m increasingly convinced of this – there is no optimization of human potential outside of spiritual growth at the core of who we are.
There is no optimization of human potential outside of spiritual growth at the core of who we are.
Community, then, only begins to approach its true potential in the context of “The Body of Christ”; and the invitation into community turns out to be a critically important missional activity in the life of the church.
We were created for community (both with God and with one-another); this principle is fundamental to our design as human beings, yet so many people live their lives in a kind of isolation. Offering community to the people who occupy our city, our neighborhood, our home, is as important as offering bread, or water. Because outside the consciousness of belonging, any one of us really is starving.
People may really be starving; but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know what it is they’re starving of – or starved for. So people work hard to acquire what they think they need, and they invest everything to secure what they are told will make them satisfied, only to be disappointed because they’re pushing hard for the wrong thing.
κοινωνία: There at the Trinity Presbyterian men’s retreat, I enjoyed several deep conversations with men who are in the process of understanding just how important faith-based community is to their growth as whole people. There is no distinction between our “selves” and our “spiritual selves”; if we want to be made whole, then we must include faith, and faith is not a solitary pursuit.
Faith in the context of community is “koinonia.” Koinonia (κοινωνία) is defined as faith-based fellowship or communion, with God or, more commonly, with fellow Christians… Disciples… Followers of the Living Way.
MUSIC: On this retreat I also led the music. Someone found a rustic guitar for me to play, and I came up with a selection of “guy-friendly” worship songs (by guy-friendly I mean songs that hang around in a low register). They sang their hearts out; it was a beautiful thing.
In fact, the entire weekend was a beautiful testimony to the meaning of the word stamped on the side of the “Koinonia Building” where we met.
Sunday morning, there in the soft winter sunshine, we shared communion on the deck. Bread. Wine. Words of Encouragement. The Passing of the Peace. Songs of Grace.
May your experience of self be wrapped in κοινωνία – DEREK
(Here are the balance of the photos)