No man is an island. We exist in a society, in a community. We grow up in a family, in a community of people. As a Christian, we must live in a Christian community. The Christian religious experience is always lived within a community. Individual spirituality leads to a commitment not merely as an individual, but to the larger community of Christian believers. Even the hermits understood that they shared in the larger Christian community. Just as there is no religious practice without a religion, there cannot be any Christian belief except within a Christian community, a Christian Church. An individual and communal faith goes hand in hand, not face to face. God created us out of love, so faith is within a community. If faith is not communal it is not complete. Nevertheless, nearly half of American Christian believers are not affiliated with a church, because we live in a highly individualist country. There is a certain hypocrisy that allows each of us to define our morality as what we would like to do. We have lost the sense of personal and social responsibility for the common good as “me” and my individual personal experience becomes more important. We are social by nature and need the common experience of worship.
We experience God in our community in the celebration of the story of Jesus Christ. The coherent story of Jesus overcomes self-deception. Jesus showed us how to be faithful to others and provides a model for constancy. The Jesus narrative story transforms and empowers us. Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the anointed one, the suffering servant. For many the scandal of death by crucifixion was too much. Christ’s resurrection defies scientific verification. This is not just about Jesus of Nazareth, but Jesus, the Lord and Savior. Jesus speaks to our hearts and minds. Jesus lives on with his Holy Spirit in our community when we gather together. There is a personal and social transformation that continually takes place with a deeper and richer understanding of the human person and authentic community. We all have a personal development of our faith. We live our discipleship of Jesus in justice, love and healing as our faith springs into action.