At Hilltop we increasingly desire and seek to follow Jesus together.
It might seem easier to have a "Jesus and me" mentality toward being a follower of Christ. It might seem more convenient to not have to be patient and kind and generous to real people that you live and work with. But it isn't! Some of us have tried a Lone Ranger life of faith. And it didn't help us love God or our neighbour as our ourselves.
God knows that to follow his Son, Jesus, we need a family of faith with which to walk. From the beginning, God recognized humans don't thrive in isolation. We were made in the triune God's image (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) so we're built to thrive in close-knit relationships. So he's provided us with a family. A family that wants us and needs us.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer ably unpacked the importance of doing life together for followers of Jesus Christ. He saw the beauty, value, and ultimately grace that Christian community imperfectly provides for each follower of Jesus.
When we follow Jesus together with his family, our ideals and stereotypes can be demolished. We can begin to see others and ourselves as people who who stand in need of a Saviour.
From a distance we can demonize or idealize others or ourselves. But when we choose to move closer in a local community of faith we realize that our fellow sisters and brothers in Jesus face similar nightmares, temptations, rejections and doubts. We remember that they too crave peace, purpose, justice and love. As a family, we can remind each other of what we so often forget on our own - the hope and transformation which the good news of Jesus brings.
As we follow Jesus together, we show up and we grow up. It's messier and slower to follow Jesus with people just like us. But it's worth it! We can encourage, comfort and challenge each other to run to the cross of Jesus for the forgiveness and hope we need. Alone, we can become proud through comparision or we can become discouraged through adversity. But as we follow Jesus together, we can grow stronger and kinder in the good news of Christ. More humble and more resilient. And we'll share the joys and divide the sorrows of following Jesus. Together. That's good news!