Love: In Community
-Rev Melissa Fain-
5 Therefore, when he comes into the world he says,
You didn’t want a sacrifice or an offering,
but you prepared a body for me;
6 you weren’t pleased with entirely burned offerings or a sin offering.
7 So then I said,
“Look, I’ve come to do your will, God.
This has been written about me in the scroll.”
Hebrews 10:5-7 CEB
Perfection is not compatible with community.
Christians are called to a place that is pulls from itself. It's arguably a tension that is greater than any other tension in the Christian faith. We are called to seek perfection knowing we can't possibly obtain it. More than that, we are called to look for that perfection within community, which makes the task monumentally harder. This is because we are born individual. As a newborn, we can't help but be self-centered, our only understanding of the world only coming from our experience.
As we grow and learn we begin to see those around us, and in acknowledging those people, we begin to become selfish or selfless. We cannot call someone selfish until they understand their actions are purposefully taking something from someone else so they can personally have it. Not all selfish behavior is bad, and not all selfless behavior is good. This all adds to the complications of seeking perfection within community.
Our differences is often what makes us stronger. Our unity is the glue that holds that strength together. We form social norms to maintain that unity. We often confuse social norms with truth. In reality, our society constantly excludes groups in order to keep "perfection" within the group. Anyone we knowingly or unknowingly exclude are the very ones Jesus calls us to bring back. Our difficulty lies in knowing peace only survives if exclusion persists. Well, fake peace anyway. Real peace is hard work.
Something must be willingly sacrificed to get even one step closer to communal perfection. Communal perfection requires everyone bring something to the sacrificial table in order for it to come together. That's why its always so difficult. Either no one gets exactly what they wanted, or only a few get everything leaving everyone else out.
Anytime we see love acted out in the world, it will always be attached to sacrifice. Something will always be destroyed so something else can live. That is the way of the world. Here's the thing: When we have been tempered with hope, peace and joy, we willingly give that sacrificial love. That's what makes the love of Advent so important. It's earned. It's game changing. It moves us to communion in willing sacrifice.
Let us pray: God of endless love, help us take in the sacrificial love as you have given sacrificial love to us. Amen.