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We are designed for community. Each of us has within us the need to interact with
others of a similar kind and fundamental to living in community are two elements
Trust and Relationship. Without both the there is a flaw in society and there will be
all sorts of corruptions to the way people interact and deal with each other .
These are just two of a number of the characteristics that are inherent to the person
of Father and that we need to combine if we are to develop a functional community.
Relationship is the glue that holds community together. Our networks of people who
we relate to is what forms our community even at the familial level but even then a
bit like the onion there are multiple ³social´ layers in our lives.
These layers in our social engineering may be totally unrelated. The environment
that we find ourselves in at work may have little or no connection to our home
environment or even our extended family network and this can create tensions in the
way we receive or deceive others.
This is where we find the need to develop ³masks´. They cover up for things we are
uncomfortable about or stuff where we feel incompatible doing. We hide the things
that we would rather others did not know about whether through sh ame or pride. We
³modify´ our story to enhance what we think others would like or to hide parts of our
life that people might find offensive or be put off by.
In this way we create an environment where we practice to be a social and in doing
so we develop a model of living that is an anti -social model of community.
We become so self absorbed with what others think of us that we are unable to be
vulnerable with more than a small number of people. This establishes zones of
³personal space´ that cushion us a gainst the invasions of those we come into contact
with. This may be a comfortable environment for us with our masks on but it is not
the community for which we are wired.
Community is after all, when you get right down to it an environment where we are
impacted by others. We are wired to be responsible for others, to hurt when they
hurt and to support others who are not coping as well as we are.
Consider the young mother whose delight is a bubbling creature full of energy and
the cutest smile. Now see that mother saying almost apologetically ³injection time´
as they troop into the doctor¶s office. That mother is already ³feeling´ the dread of
what her child is about to encounter. The mother child relationship is close to the
community relationship that Father designed for us with those who are around us.
Just as the child can be hurt for its own good, as in the case of the injection, the child
trusts its mother implicitly and explicitly. A child only learns to distrust a parent if the
parent fails to live up to their responsibility. This is the model of the why we put on
If we can teach ourselves to trust rather than distrust we can open our lives and
caring for others. We can be vulnerable to others and feel for them in their
weakness. It really is no sacrifice to dispatch our masks. We are freed when we live
in the truth, something that is the opposite of the deceiving mask, and when we live a
life of love for others. Jesus enables us to live this way and as we do so we start to
build that community that is the stuff of heaven on earth.