A few days ago I was sharing in a discussion between blogs about "community." I mentioned it to a friend, by email, and she took a look at the conversation - and passed on the links here and here and here and here, too, to another friend ... and they had an email conversation about it, and then emailed their conversation to me - with permission to post it here.
We had a couple here for supper yesterday and she is very ill and her husband is her caregiver and their relationship is breaking down from the strain...
She talks and walks with difficulty....what does community look like to them?
We have another friend who doesn't read facial expressions or know how to socialize without dominating the conversation..most people hate him...but he is a sweetheart really.(and he's a gifted mechanic and very intelligent to talk to) but I have to practically yell his name to get him stopped and say "Rick ! It's my turn to talk!" so I can get a word in edgewise while he goes on and on perseverating on subjects that interest him...he believes he's being witty and tries to be interesting to be with....what does community look like to him? It takes a lot of us taking turns being with him....
What if people are poor and they are way out of town and don't have wheels to get to anything? In the old days I guess they just didn't see each other that much eh?
Maybe we are just fellowship junkies ! Maybe our expectations are too high?
What if they are young adults and have low self esteem and are depressed? what does community look like for them? Who even cares about shy people? Introverts? Sick and poor people?
The native people across the bay here already know how to do "community" - we should ask them. They live close together and literally have to love their neighbor.
And Jean wrote:
Good question - what does community look like to me?
I have been talking with the Lord about the unity of the Body and how this will be manifest.
I do know that we're no longer going to have "get togethers" that has served to strengthen and refresh the Body. You know those amazing "group" fellowships that we have enjoyed in our homes or small gathering places. Sometimes I long for that again - when we were all of one accord. There was a sweetness and unity as the presence of the Lord saturated us as the Holy Spirit descended - sometimes like a gentle dove, sometimes like a thick cloud. How I loved that time of community with brethren.
We cannot go back to that:
We are moving into the greatest revelation of all. We stand at the beginning of a marvelous time. A time when we will know all mysteries and walk in the power and authority of the Lord. We will be ONE with Him and in Him as this marriage takes place. As we minister from the very Holy of Holies - the very presence of God. This is Kingdom reign. The Kingdom of God is OUR COMMUNITY. This will happen - and I am hoping soon. This is unity. It is not dependent upon us and our works but we will all come to recognize that who we are is hid in Christ and when we see this (Him), we will be like Him - the veil will be lifted from our understanding:
we are born of His spirit
we are clothed in His righteousness
we are saved by His salvation
we are at rest in Him who has completed ALL works
The awesome revelation of who we are in Christ will erupt within us when we least expect it. This is manifest in the Body (manifestation of the children of God) in us first and then ministered to the world for this harvest of the gentiles.
I know we are no longer experiencing what we have once cherished in times of fellowship. No matter how often we meet or how sweet the worship, the experience of God is no longer present as before. Hold on, have faith - because that which is coming is greater than this world has ever seen. It is last days ministry. We want to run toward the prize of the high calling - as the Apostle Paul says. Also, there will be a time of great restoration both spiritually and physically as it was when the Israelites came out of Egypt. Read Psalm 105 - we are to see this again in our day. The Psalm also says, "There was not one feeble person among their tribes" - so some of us "gently aging" persons will have vigor and strength.
Joel 2:25 "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."
I can't even imagine what fellowship will be like but I do think there will be places where people can come and hear the Word and be ministered to in every way. We are a royal priesthood. We carry the authority and grace and mercy of a loving God toward a hurting world.
God will establish places that are open day and night. Places of RESToration and Refreshing and abundant provision with healing, thanksgiving, worship, deliverance, food and drink - every thing Jesus did and even more. People will understand all mysteries, will have visitations, dreams, prophecies. Everyone (even little children) will know the fullness of God's spiritual blessings and His physical provision.
Jesus went out to the people as the light to this world and I do believe that wherever we gather for the places of refreshing (Bethany Houses), the light of God will radiate out to draw people in (as the light from the tabernacle/temple would be seen for miles showing people that ministry was taking place. The priesthood was meeting with God). People will come to us because of our God. There will be no self glory or lordship over one another. We shall all flow in the fullness of His life in us. We will eat from the tree of life and the last enemy - death - shall be destroyed (study the garden of Eden and the Holy of Holies and you will see that we can enter in through the veil beyond the cherubim into the very presence of God and why we can eat of the tree of life).
Yes, when I think of community, I think of the Kingdom of God and that its authority is going to be experienced on earth very soon. We will have an immense sense of unity with one another and with God.
This will bring in the last days prophecies concerning the Beast and False Prophet but they who know their God shall do exploits. We shall understand all things and walk in wisdom and unity. We will not walk in fear but in Faith. We will not be hiding away somewhere but shining as a light on a hill in our Bethany Houses that are open for all. Such ministry that we are going to see! We are here to minister to the world in this time.
These will be difficult times for the world but God's manifestation on earth will draw many to salvation. As in the days of Noah. This coming time will be a time of judgment and salvation. At the end of this time, God's Kingdom shall be established on earth for the thousand year reign.
We are going to experience the community and relationship that we have all longed for.