A Unique Community

I was thinking about community this week and my thoughts went to Sesame Street of all places! Produced from 1969 to 2017, Sesame Street featured Jim Henson’s Muppets. From the success of that show many Muppets have become well-known around the world. Big Bird, for example, is just over 8 feet tall and is known to be a bit quirky. Another character is Bert. He loves oatmeal (maybe he has Scottish roots?). He’s rarely seen apart from his best friend, Ernie. Then there’s Oscar the Grouch who’s character was designed to let us know that it’s ok to express our feelings, even if we’re having a bad day. There are so many more but I’ll stop with Grover. He’s quite the opposite of Oscar because he’s an infinitely optimistic soul.

One of the original songs that was introduced during that first year was “People in Your Neighborhood.” The song was redone many times with each remake featuring different occupations and characters found in a local community. Working people included a fireman, a policeman, a nurse, a bus driver, a mailman, and many more. The idea was to teach children that it takes all kinds of different people, doing different jobs, to make a community work.

Sesame Street was definitely a unique community. Here’s what I was thinking. Your church is a unique community as well. God designed it that way, a safe place where people can learn to love, support, and trust the Lord and one another.

The definition of community is: “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” What do we have in common except our Lord Jesus Christ and his work of grace in our lives? That is central and it needs to be celebrated on a regular basis.

The further definition of community is: “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” The work of grace in our lives should produce the second definition. When the church gathers (Sunday mornings, bible studies, small groups, youth, and special events) we have the opportunity to do what we were designed to do.

Try this for fun. Compare the characters from Sesame Street to the characters you find in your church! Perhaps you’ll find the big quirky person that is quickly noticed and seems to take up a lot of space. I’m sure you’ll find some inseparable friends, always hanging out together. There’s no doubt that you’ll find a grouch and his exact opposite (usually opposed to one another when decisions have to be made).

Paul told the Corinthians that “each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits” (1 Cor. 12). In the same chapter Paul compares the church to the human body, stating that different members of the body have different functions. It’s important then, that each member find out how they fit within the community so that the community can function as it was designed.

It’s Francis Schaeffer who said “our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful - Christian community is the final apologetic.” That should be incentive enough to make being an active member of your faith community a priority. If you’re not a part of a faith community consider doing so. It really is a beautiful place. Who knows, you might find someone who reminds you of one of the Muppets!