One aspect of the Jesus Movement that is missing from younger generations today is the realization of the importance of community. In many ways, social media has tried to make up for the loss of community, but it hasn’t done a very good job. Joni Mitchell sang “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Well, it’s also true that you don’t know what you’ve lost if you’ve never had it. And that’s the case with many Millennials and Gen-Z, they’ve never really experienced community so they don’t know what they’re missing.
Jesus is just as concerned about having us reconciled to each other as He is having us reconciled to Him. Jesus prayed in John 17 that we all might be one even as He and the Father are one (John 17:11). It’s a family He’s after, not just a bunch of isolated souls.
We are not saved into isolation. We are saved into a family — God’s forever family. We are so used to thinking of ourselves in relation to our own spiritual formation. We read our Bibles in relation to ourselves not our corporate selves. In fact, many of the passages in the New Testament that we interpret singularly are actually written corporately. Much of this is lost in translation because the Greek plural doesn’t have a similar counterpart in English. So we speak in terms of our singular Christian life when what is being discussed can’t even be understood outside the context of being applied to a group of people who are experiencing life together.
We are the body of Christ, not the eye of Christ, or the ear of Christ, or the little finger of Christ, but the body of Christ, and we cannot even understand ourselves apart from each other — an important thing to remember in light of the fact that this week, being Thanksgiving, we celebrate the family even in our secular culture.
When people came to Christ during the Jesus Movement, they joined a family. We need to continue to realize our place in the body of Christ — that our horizontal relationships with each other are as important as our vertical one with God. We are one with each other just as we are one with the Lord, and that oneness will continue on into eternity. Our experiences with God and our experiences with each other are, and will forever be, wrapped up together. We are the family of God.