Hey y’all.  First of all, registration for YAC is up – be sure to sign up, it would be great to see you all there.  For that, and for the Spring edition of the YA newsletter Bridge, I was asked to reflect on our scripture for the weekend – Romans 12:4-8 – and the idea of community.  I thought this would be a good place to share that – and I would love to hear your thoughts.

“For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another (Romans 12:4-5).”  What in the world does it mean to all be members of the body of Christ – to be individually members of one another?  At first glance, it sounds like an odd sci-fi flick.  The image that pops right into my head is something out of the Matrix, with all of humanity hooked up to a machine to make it function.  But that can’t be right – there is no individuality there.  So, what does this look like?

Here is how I like to picture this, and it is grounded in how i think about God as Trinity.  I imagine the Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit, all in one space, dancing around each other.  The energy created between them, the way you can’t Identify one without seeing the other – that is the essence of God.  But they each serve different roles in bringing the reality of God to us here on Earth.  God the Creator, maker of heaven and earth.  The Son, the redeemer, through whom Creation is brought back into relationship with God.  And the Holy Spirit, sustainer, giving us the real presence of God through which to live out our call as followers.  God is, in God’s very essence and being, a community.

In much the same way, we are called to be a community – the community we create and live out is the real body of Christ on this earth.  And much like God, we all bring different gifts to the table.  Some of us are missionaries, some of us are teachers, some of us are preachers, some musicians.  Some tend the buildings and grounds, some make sure the day to day operations happen.  But what happens when we all dance together, unable to be identified without each other, is that the energy between us brings forth the living Christ and the Kin-dom of God.  We each manifest that reality in our own ways, with our own gifts – and when brought together, we can do amazing things.

But, goodness, this is not easy.  Not a chance.  It is hard, it is radical, and it takes an incredible amount of trust and love for those around you.  It is especially hard for young adults – we rarely stay put long enough, for one thing, to build this kind of community with those around them, and we are also trying desperately to live into our own individual identity, to carve out our own lives, that the community can often get lost in the mix.

Yet, we know it is what we are seeking – it is what fills us, sustains us, and gives us hope.  It is when we feel and know the real presence of God among us – when we are involved in that intricate dance with others, calling God forth.  It is what it means to be church – anytime, anywhere.  William Placher writes, “The last word about things cannot be power if God is love.  And in love, equality need not imply identity.”[1] We are called to live into the love of God that runs so deep, it is the energy that is who God is.

So, join us for YAC 2010, and walk with us as we explore exactly how this happens – trying to define what it is, how you seek it out, how you build it, and how you maintain it.  It is what it means to live in the presence of the Triune God – Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.  It is the calling forth of God’s kin-dom on Earth, and witnessing to the risen Christ.

[1] Placher, William C.  The Triune God:  An Essay in Postmodern Theology.  Westminster John Knox Press.  Louisville, KY:  2007.  pg. 151.