The Ones They Left Behind

The Shire
It’s pleasant in the Shire!

I’ve been reflecting on two groups that are found in the church, the expediti and the communitas. The first are the mobile disciples who range across the land preaching the gospel. The second group are the “nesters” the ones that provide a home, a hospital, a school and a launching pad. These are the folks who stay behind, the ones that Paul and Peter and John wrote the letters to. They are the ones who receive instruction and live out Christ’s command to “love one another.”

The quality of communitas is one of equality of status and commitment to relationship. It is group of people who exhibit their faithfulness by showing “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” as Paul called it in his letter to the church in Ephesus. Moreover, they are the ones who stand as a witness to the presence of Christ among them because they do as Paul instructed the church in Colossae:

… [C]lothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond (vs. 12-14).

The danger of the communitas, though, is what I call “the comfort factor.” It is pleasant for brethren to “dwell together in unity.” Of course, that is the condition that ought to exist among believers, and if it doesn’t the group needs to get it right. If members of these “churches of the heart” aren’t careful they will neglect to identify and lovingly launch the the expediti in their midst, or reluctant expediti may not admit their calling. Maybe that’s what was happening to Archippus in Colossians 4:17.

I’ll think so more on this. Until then, let me ask you a question: which Latin word are you? Are you being honest with yourself?

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