I wrote recently that I believe community will save the world. And I keep coming back to that.
I’m believing less and less in personal salvation.
Because if I am experiencing salvation, it’s through community. I’m only getting there because of you guys.
If left to my own devices, my own will, I know I am doomed to hell. (“Hell,” by the way, is not necessarily a place you go after you die. But I’m not going to get into that here.) I have a weak, pitiful, petty soul – I can feel it. All I really care about is my own comfort. I don’t want to help anyone or take responsibility for anything or even seek after goodness on my own.
But you guys encourage and inspire me. Your kind words, your generous offerings, your shining example turn me towards God.
In different circumstances – if I’d been born to a different family at a different time and in a different cultural context – I could be a total monster. I know I would. It’s only because I’m embedded in this community that I am as nice and temperate and disciplined as I am. There is nothing essentially good about my heart or anything.
It doesn’t feel totally accurate or complete, then, to say Jesus is saving me. He may be the source of all goodness, but he’s doing the saving through a multitude of people. My family, my husband and kids, my friends, my blog readers. They’re all a part of it. Their collective love and support is carrying me to heaven.
And I think that’s called the Holy Spirit. The collective power of hearts fueled by love. (But maybe I’m wrong. The Holy Spirit is so tricky to define and pin down.)
Sometimes I feel like together we’re a living organism on our way to heaven. You know . . . a Body. (Hey, didn’t Paul say something about that?) None of us could get there on our own.
So I don’t feel right saying things like “Jesus is my personal lord and saviour.” For starters, I almost never feel like he speaks directly to me in private. I almost exclusively know him through you folks, and he only enters my heart through interactions with you (and the authors and pastors who speak to me through books and podcasts.) Jesus is our lord and saviour. We are saved collectively.
And I’m not even sure everyone in this Body would agree or say it that way (I’m looking at you, my favourite atheist friend. You’re helping to save me, whether you mean to or not), but I don’t think that makes it any less true.
Thank you for being the Body and for helping me to be a part of it.