Borderless community

children at table
© Muriel Frega/ImageZoo/Getty Images
Community can be a rather vague concept. It could refer to your own neighborhood, or to a district within a city or a county. It could refer to anything from a group of people bobbing at sea in a lifeboat, to an entire society of people with common interests. 

Does your community extend beyond your house, apartment, or “the projects”? As far as the grocery store, your hairdresser, or the gas station? What about across the border into the next country where a different language is spoken? The question of how far your community stretches can be weighty.

In the New Testament book of Luke, we hear about a lawyer who, with a legalistic fervor, challenged Christ Jesus to define the term neighbor. Jesus’ answer was hardly what the quarrelsome man expected. Essentially Jesus told him that one’s community extends well outside one’s neighborhood or tribe, and certainly beyond one’s friends at church or those who vote the way we do. And Jesus explained what he meant by sharing what is often called the parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus mapped out a more universal model of community, encouraging his listeners to embrace anyone they encountered who was in need of compassion and help (see Luke 10:30–37). That could translate into buying lunch for a homeless person, helping an indigent college student with tuition fees, or simply sharing a few kind words of encouragement as a form of spiritual sustenance.

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How big is good?
July 23, 2012

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