Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kent Smith (2): Distributed Divine Energy

So, just what is a vibrant family of Jesus? I’d say: a communion of people whose lifestyles are so centered in God that each person is discovering and revealing God’s unique grace through their life. The result of all these grace-gifts working together is that the whole community is a beautiful embodiment of the life of Jesus in that place. Sure enough—the body of Christ, God with skin on.

Essential to this understanding is the unique and vital role every person in the community plays in forming vibrant families of Jesus. To borrow Paul’s language,

“From Christ the whole body is joined and held together . . . by means of the distributed divine energy of every single growing part of the body working to build up his body in love.” (Eph. 4:16)

I suspect many Christians have grown jaded, deeply doubtful that this can actually happen. But rather than give up on God’s dream wouldn’t a more realistic step be to reconsider the conditions under which such communities might form?

Here we are reminded again: if we think Jesus is God, we have to believe he is smart. I don’t suppose we’re going to find a better grasp on how this all works than what he actually did and showed his disciples to do. Luke 10 illustrates this beautifully.

In our next post, I’ll explore a bit of what those conditions are. But for now, what do you think? Is God’s dream a pipe dream? Is such a community even possible on earth? Have you ever seen the church actually functioning as a vibrant family of Jesus over time?

(JW: This is such an amazing concept! I've looked for a picture to help us visualize it but without success. If you've got a good one, send it to me and I'll add it to this post.)

1 comment:

  1. This is great stuff, John (and Kent).

    An illustration that might work: A "webbing diagram" we did once of our community... We used this to get a picture of what God was doing, and to think about each entity in the community, how it related to us and to each other. It became a launching pad for discussion of "What is next" for each relationship, who was best connected to whom, whether we needed to change anything to strengthen one another, and who was unconnected but near to the community.

    It was encouraging, as it showed our faith community to be bigger than we expected !

    Such a diagram of Jesus' community, and the apostolic, might be helpful as well, as we strive to also walk as he walked.

    Our diagram isn't photogenic, but maybe there is an illustration somewhere of a webbing diagram?