Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. ~ James 5:13-16
What does community mean to you?
For the church, it means us together. It means us as part of the Body of Christ.
Ours is not an individualistic faith. To paraphrase an old cliche: there's no "I" in church." There's no "me" in community.
That isn't to say that we don't come to church with our individual pains and sorrow and hopes and dreams. It doesn't mean that God isn't interested in our individual prayers.
But God is about the restoration of all things and all people. God is interested - as I'm sure you've heard me say - in relationship. Relationship between us and God, and relationship between each of us with each other.
It's one of the reasons why when we pray the Lord's Prayer we say: "Our father..." not "my father." We are church together. We are community together.
Being part of a community is why during this pandemic we wear masks in church - to protect members of the community who are vulnerable. It's why we encourage Bible Study together rather than just reading it on your own. You do learn so much more when we are discussing it with multiple voices and points of view. It's why we call the Lord's Supper "Communion."
We are community together - called to confess to each other and pray for each other.
Called to be FOR each other.
Open my eyes Lord, to the needs of my community. Amen