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The Advent of Sacred Community
Paul David Guidry's picture

John 1:1–51 (ESV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was in the beginning with God.  3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

I love the Word of God. I love how He perfectly reflects the beauty of the dimensions of His nature through the frailty of human language. Jesus came to call us out of darkness into light. He came, not to leave us as we are, but to guide us into something better. He came to call us out of disjointed independence into blessed unity. He came to be the head of one body, the church, which is the reward for His suffering and the fullness of Him who dwells one in all.

At the start of John’s Gospel, we see Him as He is and as He was in the beginning. Everything that God does, He does with intention. Every word He uses has purpose. Why? Because that is what a good father does!

In the beginning was the “Word.” The original Greek used the word logos, what is translated into English as “word.” It literally means “a word, a spoken word, or a statement.” But in biblical culture, history and roots of language are important. The root word of logos literally means “to gather” or “to collect.” In this we find the heart of Christ even from the beginning. From the light of the first day of creation, the heart of God was to gather for Himself a people, a sacred community, a family that would know His voice, hear His heart, and walk toward His face. Everything He does, says, and the manner in which He moves, teaches us how to do that!

Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’.” This is not simply about the foundation of marriage. We were designed to walk in community. But how did God teach the first man and first woman to fit together? How did he teach them how to walk as one?

The answer is found in Genesis 3:8. “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” We have a bit of a translational issue here, so let’s look at what this verse literally says in Hebrew. “And they heard the voice of YHWH Elohim (the Hebrew letters Yud Hey Vav Hey, transliterated as Yahweh) walking Himself in the garden to the Spirit of the day. And the man and woman hid self among a tree in the garden.”

Why is this significant? This appears to be a regular occurrence. But nothing God does is by coincidence or accident. We hear the voice of God. But how do you hear the voice of God walking? But maybe the better question is: Who is the voice of God? Let’s go back to the passage from John 1. In the beginning was the Word - the spoken word, the saying, the statement of God, and this saying of God was God and was with God. So here we see that they heard the Voice of YHWH Elohim, that is The Father, walking Himself in the Garden to the Ruach, the Holy Spirit in the garden. What are we actually seeing here? From the beginning we see the triune God, in 3 distinct persons, walking in perfect unity with Himself to Himself. Why? Children learn how to walk by watching their parents walk.

How do we see this demonstrated? Look at the last half of Genesis 3:8! “…and the man and the woman (plural) hid self (singular) from the face of the Father among a tree in the garden.”

Did you ever wonder why the first woman did not receive the name Eve until after sin entered the world and they were removed from the garden? And the name Adam didn’t actually function as a name either. They were simply known as first man and first woman. Having distinct names had no significance because in the garden, even as two distinct people and personalities, they walked in complete unity. They walked in a manner that they were taught to walk in by their Father. He walked in complete unity with Himself to Himself so that we would walk in complete unity together toward Him.

From the very beginning God has demonstrated to us what sacred community looks like. In the beginning, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit walked in perfect wholeness and unity in order to demonstrate to the First Man and First Woman how to walk in wholeness and unity with each other.

Jesus gave up the glory of heaven to be born as a baby on earth in order to restore the pathway to sacred community on earth. The key to sacred community is found less in what it does for “me” and more in what it does for “we.” This is the establishment of His Body, The Church, which is the full expression of Jesus who fills all in all. This is the sacred community where we render subservient the power of “me” for the glory of “we.” This is the pathway to the fulfillment of John 17 where Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one. One body, one sacred community, made up of many members – that is, many sacred communities – with Jesus at the head. This is the glory of God revealed on earth. This very thing that creation is groaning for will not simply be demonstrated through me, it will be revealed through “we.” The sacred community, the body of Christ, the Church that is the fullness of Christ revealed on earth!

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