What’s the common good for community?
What is community? How can communities be Uniting? What is the common good for community?
These three questions lay at the heart of Ace (Sung Kwang) Kim’s contemporary witness/Bible study at the meeting of the Synod of New South Wales and the ACT at Knox Grammar School on Monday April 15.
Mr Kim encouraged Synod members to remember that the Bible was the living word of God which should be used to direct all aspects of a Christian’s life — including life in community.
A great example of how to live in Christian community came right after Pentecost, he said, and was recorded in Acts 2:44-47.
These believers had all things in common. They sold their possessions and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. They also spent day after day worshipping together, breaking bread and eating their food with glad and generous hearts. They praised God, had the goodwill of all people, and the Lord added to their number, daily, to those being saved.
It was important to remember that community was not formed just by gathering people together.
Rather, the origin of community outlined in the Bible was the community of the Trinitarian God in the beginning of God’s creation, he said.
Mr Kim quoted three Bible passages to support this understanding:
- Genesis 1:26-27 — Then God said, “Let us make man in our image in our likeness … in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
- Genesis 2:18 — The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
- Matthew 18:19-20 — “Again, I tell you, that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Mr Kim reminded Synod members that community was broken and destroyed by sin.
Adam and Eve were attacked and tempted by Satan, he said, which resulted in the brokenness of their community.
Mr Kim also said that communities could be Uniting:
- Through the work of Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:3). The strength and power of the Holy Spirit unites us in God’s work.
- Through the gospel of Jesus Christ (John 17: 21). Jesus came to communicate with us and teach us how to restore community.
- And through the fellowship of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). The Spirit of God encourages us to understand that we are the body of Christ.
Certain characteristics of community had their roots in the common good, Mr Kim said, and this could help the Uniting Church to answer “What is common good for community?”
“The Bible teaches us to live in community with others through fellowship, hospitality, love, kindness and the willingness to help one another,” he said.
Mr Kim is the team leader for OneHeart Ministry (Eastwood and West Epping Uniting Churches) and as is in formation as a candidate for ordained ministry at United Theological College in North Parramatta.