Earlier today we returned from a nice week of R and R in Florida visiting family. It was a nice break, but I am ready to be back.
During this time off i read through a couple of books and have been mulling over a couple of thoughts, esp about how we, the church, relate to God and relate to others. What is our purpose as the church, and, even in a different context, what is our purpose as humanity as a whole.
The more I have thought about this, and reflected on how I view God (which is in a very relational model), I have started to reflect on how individualism is a barrier we set up to promote self and even idolize at times.
Now this is a thought in process, so at this point I am just brainstorming.
God is relational. Relational in God's own being - the Trinity - and God desires to be in relationship with us - we know this because of the way that God keeps coming to us, forgiving us, and working to restore our relationship with him. So when we focus on our selves, when we promote our own individualism - what we want, things we deserve, desire, etc, are we setting up barriers between ourselves and others, and even barriers with God?
As a part of the body of Christ, the church, I believe that we are called to put aside our strong desires of individualism - our wants, desires, etc - to try and build relationships with others, and even grow in our relationship with God. This is not an easy thing, because human nature seeks to put our selves above others. But in working to grow in these relationships, we start to see the face of Christ in a new light. we start to see that what matters more than anything is the relationships we have.
This means that we will not always get what we want - or does it? Because if the relationships are what are truly essential, then everything else becomes secondary.
So how do we do this? The first step is to start by sitting down and really getting to know people. Spending time with them, where they are, finding out what they are going through, and truly listening to them. As we do this we will start to see the ways that God is working through these people - and working through us as we grow in love of these others.
Second is to try and develop new relationships. New people come into our lives all the time, but do we spend the time needed to actually get to know them and develop a relationship with them, or do we just pass by, missing the opportunity to see God working in their lives as well?
Like I said, this is a thought in process, any comments are welcome.