Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Immediately after Adam and Eve are removed from Eden where they had fellowship with God, is an account of a deeply broken relationship between two brothers. Cain had his reasons. He had been hurt! “It’s not fair!” His curse is described: “You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” To which Cain responded, “My punishment is more than I can bear.”
Ever since the fall, we are all born into this world as restless wanderers—plummeting further and further into conflict or isolation. It is more than we can bear. We desperately need community, but often work against it or run from it. Colossians 3:15-17 describes the community we desperately need. If that is what church looked like when we walked in the doors, most of us would gladly say, “Sign me up!” But frankly, it often doesn’t.
Someone recently wrote me about a woman, a former missionary, who had been abused by her husband. He had admitted as much. Due to his unwillingness to change, she divorced him. The churches she was connected with supported him and encouraged her to submit to her husband. Her mission agency asked her to end her membership, because she was divorced. She was unjustly rejected by the church, and now won’t darken a church door. Part of me can’t blame her. But I know she needs the community that only Christ can offer… in a church.
Why is this spiritual community so hard to find? So elusive? What is necessary to experiencing it? How do we get there? How can the church be transformed into the spiritual community we were meant to be?