1 Corinthians 1:17-25;Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11 Matthew 25:1-13
“… Not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.” (1 Corinthians 1:17)
No one can deny the excitement of hearing a great preacher—someone who seems to know exactly how to bring out the meat of the Gospel and apply it directly to our lives. We leave feeling filled, enthusiastic, and optimistic. But what happens when the words start to fade from memory? What happens when we face our mundane daily struggles? Is the power only in the preacher—or in the cross of Christ?
Eloquent preaching is better than dull exposition, but what truly sustains us and deepens our faith is community. Seeing other people staying faithful to prayer, seeing them at church or at our prayer group, walking with them as they grapple with suffering, praying with them as we all struggle against temptation—this is what solidifies our convictions and helps us live them out.
The reason why community is so powerful is that it follows the way God made us to live: not in isolation but in relationship! Community helps us learn the message of the cross as we see our brothers and sisters’ lives transformed by Jesus in the nitty gritty events of the day. Jesus is the Word made flesh, and in a similar way, the church is the teachings of Christ made flesh. It is us, his body, living out his word in our everyday lives.
Even though it may seem strange in our individualistic world, we truly do need each other if we want to grow in faith. You need the witness of other members of the body of Christ. You need to see the way they live out his word. What’s more, they need the same thing from you!
So if you really want to meet Jesus, share your life with other Christians. Be counter-cultural and seek out fellowship. Share your struggles and prayers and hopes with your spouse or a friend from church. See if your parish has a faith-sharing group or prayer meeting. Join a Bible study. Then the message of the cross will penetrate deeper than you’ve ever known before.
“Jesus, help me break down barriers so that I can live in union with other believers. Open my eyes so that I can see you at work in the lives of my brothers and sisters!” ~WAU