The Fall of humanity was a catastrophic event. Something happened to the human personality—something terrible, something destructive, something profound. In a single, subtle, devastating blow, sin destroyed most of what God had designed. All that is left is a tarnished remainder.

          The blow to God’s creation was so destructive precisely because it was so strategically aimed. It struck at the very nature of God-communal existence. It struck at the very foundation of what He had created-harmonious co-existence among radically diverse creatures. In short, sin cripples our ability to live in communion with God and it destroys our ability to live in community with one another.

          In the post-Fall world in which we now find ourselves, human community is formed through a perverse and ungodly process. First, we identify the distinctive characteristics in ourselves. Next, we contrast our distinctive traits with the differences we see in others. Our so-called communities are then formed by excluding those who differ from us and violently expelling those of our own community who object to our exclusivity.

          True unity is impossible in such an environment. Each group (community) is fixated on its own distinctive nature. Diversity is perceived as a threat. Cooperation gives way to rivalry. A spirit of inclusiveness is equated with a compromise of values and disloyalty to the common good. Institutional self-preservation becomes the primary objective. Any point of contact with outsiders is saturated with a thorough exegesis of the differences between “them and us.”

          The gospel heralds a new community, a new humanity. Jesus confronted established human communities (“Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?”), refused to pick sides (“they brought a woman to Jesus to test Him“) as He called His disciples into a new reality. Entrance into this new reality requires that some human communities be dissolved (“in one house they will be divided, father against son and son against father…”) Entrance into this new reality requires that a new human community be formed: A community that is unified in its love; a community that has room for everyone.

Advertisements