Real Community Found in Left Field

The church could learn something from Section 135 located in left field at AT&T park which is the place that the San Francisco Giants call home. ESPN The Magazine ran a story this past July featuring a community of people who do more than watch baseball games together. They share life together.

There’s a 58 year old woman who is a professor at San Francisco State. She invites everyone over to her house for a party on the day that the pitchers and catchers report to spring training. There’s the software engineer who when he got cancer, received cards from his fellow fans. They even got the Giants announcer to send him well wishes over the air. Rumor has it, one woman from the section also had a hand in managing to persuade one of his nurses to smuggle him a beer and a hot dog while he watched the Giants on Opening Day.

When one of their member’s sons went on assignment with the Army, the section mailed care packages. And some members always catch at least one of the younger fans little league games.

Tim Keown: “Where else can you find camaraderie like this? Where else can people gather and share this much life? In your neighborhood? Chances are, the folks next door and across the street are too consumed with their jobs and their kids and their bills to sit around together for three hours 81 times a year. At the office? It’s unlikely that corporate hierarchies and petty infighting could ever be dropped long enough to foster the kind of egalitarian bonhomie found in and around 135.”

You should find be able to find camaraderie like this in the church where people share life together and care for one another. According to the Bible, the Christian life is a community project. God never intended for us to try it alone. Starting in Acts 2 and continuing all through the New Testament, there is a real emphasis on being inside of a church community.

Not sure what real community looks like? Here is a partial list of the “one another” passages in the New Testament Epistles. You can think of them as instructions for biblical community.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Romans 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Hebrews 10:25 …not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

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