An Introspective Look at Compassion, the Gospel and Community

Compassion + the Gospel = Community

 

If I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could’ve won. – ‘I Gave You All’ Mumford & Sons

Like any good locker room pep talk before the big game, Game Time began with a broad review of North Ridge’s place (and any church, for that matter) in our community, as a city within the city. Not as an act of voluntary segregation, but an organized effort towards unified community. Community is only as strong as its members, so periodic self-examination is important to maintain its health. Last week began a broad assessment of our effectiveness as the lighted city on the North Ridge. We were also encouraged to focus this assessment of effectiveness a little tighter, owning our success and failures as individuals. Game Time, week 2, takes this individual self-review a little further, diving into directing our focus. The gospel of Jesus is this, Jesus lived sinlessly, He died mercilessly, He was buried shamefully and rose miraculously. In devotion to Him, we’re invited to do the same; not by literally becoming Him but by emulating Him in community by serving each other. The gospel of Jesus is a call to action. It is more than some magic words and ritualism that rubs the sweet spot of a mystical genie. If our heart for God doesn’t translate into active community participation, what good does it serve?

A city on a hill. These are the words used to describe the church. A shining example of a community of people doing life together and prospering out of that unity. The light that defines the city is produced by the heart of its members. Each member casts a shadow of the gospel when they claim to be part of that city, though the shadow left by some does not accurately reflect the dogma of the city. When the light shines on you, what is found in your shadow? If an accurate understanding of the Gospel is central to your shadow, in the wake of your presence will be love, compassion, and community. This is the essence of discipleship; leaders empowering new leaders.

Today’s drawing is an introspective look in the light of the Gospel. The light symbolizes life, an allusion to the city on the hill. Any details of the figure are washed away by the light, symbolizing death. The death of cynicism, of ego, of social competition; the final burial of selfishness. In the center of the cast shadow are icons representing the Gospel of Jesus. The outer shape of the cast shadow grows into a community of figures joining hands and helping each other up. As the figures begin to stand, they stand together having conquered the world.

What do you leave in the wake of your shadow?

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