Collective Stretchy Blob
I recently shared about community at a Collective Church gathering. While discussing this with a small group a little later, my friend Catherine summed up what I had taught perfectly;
‘We are the church. Like a big blob as we gather, stretching out as we live our lives. But always still the church. Like a big stretchy blob.’
1 Corinthians 3:16 ‘Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?’ (esv)
For many years I read this scripture to mean the Spirit of God dwelled within me. That meant no tattoos or drinking, (plus many other fun rules) as my body has the Holy Spirit within it and you don’t want to damage the temple!
Imagine my surprise to then notice the footnote… ‘The Greek for ‘you’ is plural.’
This changes everything.
This letter was being written to a house church movement in Corinth. Of course it was plural. So why did I so easily read ‘you’ and assume ‘me’?
The answer is individualism. I’ve been conditioned to think of my life as all about me. My spirituality is then about God and me.
Think about it. The phrases we use… ‘my walk’, ‘my hope’, ‘my sin’, ‘my witness’. We naturally relate so much of our spiritual life to us as individuals. We then assume that’s how God intended it.
As we read Jesus teaching his disciples to pray you are struck by some different phrases… ‘our Father’, ‘give us’, ‘forgive us’, ‘lead us’, ‘deliver us’. It seems Jesus taught his disciples to relate to God not as ‘ME’, but as ‘WE’.
‘We’ over ‘me’ is powerful. It transforms how the church approaches everything. It leads us away from church as an organisation to satisfy consumer needs. ‘Me’ is not at the centre of the churches existance.
Together we are God’s temple; God’s Spirit dwells in us, collectively.
The church can be a beacon of community. A big beautiful blob of disciples as we gather, scattering not as individuals, but remaining a collective stretchy blob as we spread across neighbourhoods, villages and towns to join with God in the renewal of all things.