Bible Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12-13)

The church is an essential part of a Christian’s life. We are not created to be individual Christians. We are called into a community so that we can grow together and support one another. We need each other in our churches to encourage one another, rebuke one another, and push each other onward to live for Christ. If we think we can do it alone, we are naive to Satan’s power to lure us to the ways of the world. We are naive to our own weakness and inclination to fall. If we haven’t fallen into sin yet, it is only because the opportunity has yet to come. 

To foster and dive into a community is not always the easiest thing. Our passions are different. Our personalities are different. Our ages are different. However, the church is not a hobby club. We don’t gather because we like things in common. We gather because Christ has gathered us together as a church. We are people who have been renewed into new hope and saved for a new life. We are people who have received undeserved grace and have been separated from sin and the world to live a holy life for Christ. 

Our community is so vital because the world will try to lure us. Our sinful desires resonate with worldly passions. If we do not belong in a community of light and truth, there is no way we will ever last in our efforts to put on the new self and put off the old. 

And so, because we have been called into this community, let us work to foster it in holiness, compassion, kindness, humility and patience. Sometimes it might be hard to get along with those in church. In those times and in all times, what binds us in harmony is love. When we talk about love, it is not something we do to gain anything. The definition of love is Christ. Christ gave all He could give to die for unworthy sinners. He did not benefit from coming to earth, becoming a man, and dying on a cross. On the contrary, He was robbed of His glory, mocked and shamed. Yet this was what love is; dying for those who hated Him. 

When Christ’s love abides within us, we will be powerful witnesses to the world. Love calls us to forgive. Love calls us to make peace with everyone. Love calls us to continue to admonish each other in God’s word through all the many means of grace possible to us. To love as Christ loves is to sacrifice our own needs and wants. When this happens, our community will be a powerful beacon of hope in the world. 

Let’s foster community amongst our teens. Let’s foster community amongst our churches. 

Lord, please help us to love one another. Thank You for love You have shown us on the cross. Nothing can compare to Your love and grace, which we do not deserve. Teach us to grow in thankfulness and worship to You. Help us to love one another as You loved us. Help our church and our community grow to be a witness to You and Your world. Please have mercy on us. In Jesus’ name, amen.