Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

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January 18, 2021: The Blessing of Community

“Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27, NKJV).

In this text, Apostle Paul speaks about the mystery of the church. Only Christ makes the church holy and glorious, merely through His holy presence. A genuine or real church community is not an idealized human projection. Some members have dreams for their community, but this dreaming sometimes may be an obstacle to the genuine, real, authentic and spiritual sense of the community. Idealized community is a hindrance because members who endorse it have demands and an accusing spirit. They see only failures, sins, shortcomings; finding faults become a sacred task. When their idealized image of the church community is destroyed, they become resentful and accuse everyone, including God Himself. This leads to spiritual despair, and, ultimately, spiritual death.

We should accept the church as a gift from God. Yes, we are all sinners, but the mystery of the church community is His precious gift. Wishful dreaming of a perfect community becomes transformed into the actual conscious participation in the real and authentic community through Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit. Sinners are transformed into a holy sanctuary of saints, not by effort or spiritual fervor, but by His presence alone. Christ in you is the only hope of glory, says Paul. Frail and weak community is transformed into a safe haven and refuge—a fellowship of love that continues to grow in eternity. Giving up on the idealized dream of the perfect community opens the door for authentic involvement in the given community, receiving the gift of God’s fellowship of saints.

Dear Lord, let us receive the real community fellowship as your precious gift, and experience Christ’s presence in our midst as the only hope of glory. Amen.

Alex Santrac is the pastor of the Middletown Valley and Catoctin View churches in Maryland.

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