Our understanding of authentic community comes out of Romans 12:9-13 where the Apostle Paul says, “Let love be without hypocrisy,” or literally, “without a mask.” He goes on to say, “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Then, Paul says how in an authentic community people rejoice in hope, devote themselves to prayer, and they care for one another by contributing to one another’s needs.
Being a part of an authentic community…includes having a willingness to help carry one another’s burden … listening with our whole hearts (not just our ears), to become aware of the burdens others carry and being willing to join in praying for one another as well as providing practical helps to lighten that burden.
“Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (Galatians 6:2-5 – The Message)
… is serving one another … using our gifts, abilities and talents for the sake of others in the community we call FAITH as well as giving others the permission to serve us appropriately. That exchange builds a sense of bonding and encouragement as well as oneness. Serving one another also involves celebrating (rejoicing) with one another, affirming and encouraging one another in hope. Then, out of this we will more readily discover our callings, passion and mission to the larger community outside of FAITH as well, as we “…consider how to spur on one another to love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24. – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist