Community

Genesis 2 is an interruption.  It’s like the “goose” following a long series of “duck, duck, duck, duck’s…” in Genesis 1.  In Genesis 1 we have God looking upon every single category of his creation saying, “That’s good.  That’s good.  That’s good.  That’s really good.”  The creator of language, the One that Scripture calls The Word, looks upon the world and can find only one word that can convey the emotion of what he sees–good.

Then we get to Genesis 2.  For the first time in the Scriptures we see God declare something not good.  And God says this when everything is perfect.  He says this before the Fall, when we know things aren’t good. He says this before sin entered the world. He said this before shows like Jersey Shore ever existed.  He says this even before his relationship with humanity is broken. Everything should have been good.  And it is…except one thing:  Man is alone.

This just doesn’t fit my paradigm.  In my understanding, if my relationship with God is good, then all things are good.  I’ve sung lyrics like, “All I need is You, God”  ”You’re all I want.  You’re all I’ve ever needed”  ”We have all we need in you, ’cause all we need is you.”  I’ve sung them passionately and meaningfully.  The only problem is, well…they’re just not true.

Apparently, we actually need more than God.  Apparently, God created us with a need that even God can’t fully meet.  We were made for relationship, not only with God but with other people.  In a way that is exactly what it means to be created in the image of God, because our God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–is community.  We are created in the image of community and relationship, so of course we need those things. At the heart of what it means to be fully human, to be fully what God created us to be, is to be in relationship with one another, meaningfully and joyfully.

So God creates a counterpart for man, someone like him and yet different from him.  And he describes this new relationship as one in which they are both “naked and unashamed.” This is radical because in this world I’m either naked and ashamed, or I’m covered and unashamed.  I can hide all of my brokenness and bad parts, and in doing so be unashamed around you but not naked.  Or, I can reveal even my worst parts and be naked before you, but in doing so I will also be ashamed.  I can’t be both.

And yet this is the goal of Christian community–to be naked and unashamed–and it’s only in Christ, who actually takes away our shame, that we can achieve this goal. And it’s only in a loving community that allows us to be both naked and unashamed that we really begin to understand what this looks like and live into this.

What I’m trying to say is I need you.  Actually, we need each other.  And we need Jesus.  Not in that order.