When I go out of town, I have the privilege of attending different churches. It is always a blessing to be with God’s people, yet it also reminds me of the distinct and glorious privilege of being a part of a local church community. Gospel Life Church in Joliet, IL is the my primary community in my life. This is for two reasons:
- GLC is my primary community because Jesus Christ unites us.
- GLC is my primary community because we are covenanted together as a local body of Jesus Christ.
“Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 21.
How could it be otherwise? These are the Christians I worship Jesus with, sing to Jesus with, pray to Jesus with, learn about Jesus with, grow more like Jesus with, and suffer for Jesus with, more than any other Christians. I know and love them in Christ and they know and love me in Christ. So many time our love has covered a multitude of sins toward one another (1 Peter 4:8) and at other times our love has caused us exhort each other in our sins toward one another (Hebrews 3:13).
“The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 19.
Bonhoeffer is right on regarding the joy of community with any Christian, but this joy is even greater when I am together with my local community of Christians.
Nevertheless, I can take the blessing of my local Christians for granted if I am not intentionally appreciating it. Bonhoeffer knew about the Christians propensity for forgetfulness and calls us to see God’s grace in our Christian communities.
“It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 20.
Thank you, my gracious Lord, for Gospel Life Church with each member and family.