Monday, 25 November 2019
Question of the day: Do we need a community in order to serve God?
Answer: The writers of Thessalonians seem to think so. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 "in this way we were yearning for you. We were delighted to share with you not only the Good News of God but also our very souls, because you had become dear to us."
It is walking together through trials that endears us to each other. We all share a calling to love God. Deuteronomy 6:5 "Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."
Can't we do that by ourselves? Why do we need (yes, are required) to do this with others? In the Rabbi's Reflections every question is answered by Scripture.
1 John 4:20-21 "If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother."
Still, how does this prove community is required? Without community we are left with random acts of kindness. The "good ole boy network" is alive and well in the hills of Tennessee. But there is no intentionality without community. Without community we never know how unlovely people are. Unless we love the unlovely, we have no benefit.
Besides that, can you even call someone a "brother” unless they are part of the family? Without community it's just too easy to run and hide when things get difficult. Even within community we want to do that. But God commands a different response.
Is it important to love the unlovely? Let's ask Luke. Luke 6:32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them."
The Lord commands us to love our enemies. Luke 6:35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of Elyon, for He is kind to the ungrateful and evil ones." This is easy to say, but what if the "enemies" are those from our own family or community?
There is the well known story of the man who was finally rescued from a deserted island. He was asked why he had built for himself 2 churches, to which he replied, "That is the one I attend. The other one is the one I wouldn't set foot in."
Unless our relationships are tried and tested we never know how strong they really are. I'm just going to leave off here for today. Shalom and blessings.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,