“God made us alive together with Christ!” ~Ephesians 2:5
I realize the phrase “Together Community” comes from the Department of Redundancy Department. The word “community” means “tgogether,” right? Good. Because we are all raised with Christ Jesus to be together.
When considering the resurrection stories in the Gospels, please notice that not one person experienced the power, the hope, and the mystery of the empty tomb alone. Nobody encountered the risen Lord by themselves. The people who saw the empty grave and the angels, the ones who ate dinner with Jesus that night, they were all with their friends. Most of them, we know their names. We know their stories. We know their relationships with one another. And what a mixed bag of people. What a weird collection of folks.
Jesus’ mother and a radical anti-government conspirator. The wealthy Jewess Mary Magdalene and the turncoat tax collector. Cursing fishermen and gentle women. Big city boys and sons of country farmers. Resurrection is experienced in a complex network of personal relationships. Men and women just like us: puzzled, bewildered, confused, questioning, doubting. And, yes, singing and believing and praying and obeying. Together.
The Resurrection of Jesus creates togetherness. It creates relationships. It forms us together today as one people just like it did then. Just glance at Acts 2 and look at the Resurrection community. People from all walks of life — rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, men and women, educated and ignorant, powerful and marginal — all brought together by the Holy Spirit of the risen Savior to live together and act like family. They didn’t have a whole lot in common other than the resurrection. But they acted like a family. Every day. In each other’s homes. Loving each other. Ministering to one another. Taking care of each other. Eating and praying together. Singing and serving together. They devoted themselves to the community and had all things in common.
The resurrection community is like a neighborhood, but it’s more personal. It’s like a family, only more diverse. It can be like a football team or a civic club, but it’s much stronger. I like to think of our resurrection community at Central like an army platoon. We’re brought together by something much bigger than ourselves, united by a shared purpose, and made stronger under pressure and difficulty. Together. We are a group of brothers and sisters who live in sacred covenant with one another in order to serve the Kingdom for which our Lord died and was raised to eternal life. It’s about something that really, really matters.
We need each other. None of us can do this by ourselves. It’s impossible. We’re not intended to. We were raised with Christ to be together.
I need you. And whether you admit it or not — whether you like it or not — you need me, too. You need me to love you and I need you to encourage me. You need me to challenge you and I need you to correct me. I need your strength when I’m tired and you need my support when you’re down. I need your patience when you have none and you need my joy when you have none. We all need to remind each other about the Resurrection and our parts in it. We all need to be able to regularly look around and see clearly that we are not in this thing by ourselves.