The church continues the resurrection life of Jesus, but it isn’t done according to our preferences (which is what we often prefer and try), but according to the community that God wants to make – one of all different kinds of people. If we don’t honor that diversity, we are not honoring God’s desire for a community of undesirables (people different than what we’re comfortable with – whatever that may be) that He will put together, unified in the life of Christ. Luke’s gospel is full of Jesus going after people on the margins.
The way to cultivate the fear-of-the-Lord in community, according to Peterson, is baptism and love. We are baptized in the name of the Trinitarian community. We are brought into a community that includes the Triune God – as well as others in community and we, just as the Trinity expresses love within its being, so we are called to love our community. Not called, commanded. Baptism includes saying ‘no’ to our selfish ways – that’s repentances. The flip side is saying ‘yes,’ which is following Jesus – and that means loving the community.
Community doesn’t happen just between us, the Bible (or any other book, including Peterson’s), and God. It happens in relationship with others people. Love is exercised on the vertical and horizontal axes. There’s nothing better than enjoying great friends and family in community. But God is, I think, particularly honored when we love those we find unlovely (and when those who find us unlovely love us as well).
Don’t post it, but think about who you find difficult to love. Why not love them in some tangible way this Christmas season?