Considering the title of today’s blog, it might seem like an “original thought”, in saying that relationship is important. Knowing others and being known is important. While we may not always think about it or consider its significance, there is a reason why God created us to function best in the context of relationship. First, as most of us have heard before and probably read in the Scripture, we stem from a Being who is relational in nature. In the book of Genesis, the first chapter, God is speaking, the Spirit is hovering, and through Christ all things were brought into being. This is evidenced by a verse in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John. It says, “God created everything through Him (Christ), and apart from Him, nothing was made that has been made or come into existence. In the 26th verse of the same chapter of Genesis, just prior to the creation of man. God speaks. He says, “Let Us make man in Our image and after Our likeness, and let them have dominion….” Not only were you and I born out of relationship, we were created for it.
God created the heavens and the earth over the course of six days. At the end of each day, he paused, observed what he had made and said, “It is very good.” During the process of creation, God deemed everything as ‘good’, including man. Imagine God in the creative process. As he creates, he is saying repeatedly, “That’s good. That’s good. That’s good, and that’s good. Then, all of a sudden, Oh! That’s not good!” The first time we hear any reference in the Scripture as to the state of something ‘not being good,’ is when it is in reference to man existing outside of the context of human to human relationship.
In the context of community, we are known by others, and we have the opportunity to know those around us. We are loved and cared for, and we have the chance to know and care for others. In the context of community, there is a way in which we come to know ourselves. I am not sure we can ever know ourselves fully outside of authentic community because it is only in this dynamic that the fullest expression of self exists. Meaning, while each of us can be who we are in isolation, the expression of who we are can only be known, received and responded to where we are in relationship with others.
In community, we get to know our world. According to God’s goodness and his tender mercies, he has created seemingly countless human beings on this earth. There are peoples from backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities that our vastly different from our own. Yet this is a primary way in which we get to know the world. A few months ago, I spoke at a Middle and High School chapel service. The title of the message was, Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone. For the most part, the school and the community can be described as mono-cultural and mono-ethnic. Correspondingly, one of the things I said is, “When we refuse to venture out of the places and spaces that are familiar to us, and it is ultimately for the reason of unfamiliarity. We may be very well acquainted, even comfortable with the world we know, but sadly, arguably tragically, we will never get to know or experience the world that is, the world that exist outside of our established reality. Though few take the time to deeply consider this truth, a world does exist outside of that which we are familiar. It too, is inhabited by individuals whose culture, complexion, cuisine, and language may be different from that where we are most comfortable. But if we refuse to know ‘their world’, we cheat ourselves out of knowing ‘the’ world. When we open ourselves to seeing the world through the eyes of others, we make ourselves vulnerable to experiencing the world as they know it. In the context of community, of relationship with others, we get to know our world.
It is also in community that we grow in knowing God and becoming like Christ. Have you ever thought about the fact that every human being you encounter is a unique expression of who God that will never be seen again? You and I are created to express God in this world, in the context of community, in a way that is unique to our individual selves, in a dynamic that will grace the cosmos again. It’s as if every person living, is the opportunity for you and me to have a once in a lifetime encounter because that individual is the only one of his or her kind. His or her life, who that individual is created to be, is a unique way in which God has chosen to express himself on earth that will never be seen again.
In the book of Acts 2:42-47, the Bible describes the community of Believers. First of all, they devoted themselves to the teaching of the word of God through the Apostles. Second, the all met regularly in one place. Third, the shared all they had with those in need. They worshipped together at the Temple daily. They met in the homes of one another. Finally, they simply enjoyed being with each other, knowing and getting to know one another, in the context of community.
There is indeed something to be said about the importance of relationship. We were brought forth out of it, even that of our natural existence, and we were created for it. Last, we are not our best without it. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” God is a relational God, one in essence but unique in manifestation. Before being crucified and taken up into heaven, Jesus told his disciples, “It is by your love that men will know you are my disciples.” Relationship is important because it is arguably the greatest manifestation of God’s nature on this earth. It is how we see God, how we know God, and how God fulfills his purpose through us in this world. Some of us avoid it or run from it because we have been hurt by it. But so was God, and he understands. Don’t be afraid to trust again. Relationship in the context of community is important. Invest in it, and allow it to be nurtured in your life. You will find, its benefit is priceless.
Bible Reading: Acts 4
Have a wonderful and blessed week
 Gospel of John 13:5, my paraphrase of this verse