Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime classic full of complex ups and downs. In it, you meet Shinji who at the beginning of the series, he’s’ a very lonely individual who has zero desire to fight, but after episode 5 he becomes something different. Why? Because of the Community. But what is community? This week Dallas gives us 4 aspects of Community? How does it affect our lives?
In 1995 infamous Apocalyptic / Psychological Drama, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” was released to the world. This past week, Netflix Released a redubbed version, and people in the Anime community are freaking out! This is not a kid’s series as it’s an in-depth look at the psychology of people in a post-apocalyptic world that has prepared to fight off giant monsters, but their only hope is a handful of teenagers who can pilot these giant machines called “Evas.” It’s really beautifully written and masterfully animated. They do a great job of not just telling you but making you feel the emptiness of the primary setting, Tokyo 3.
The series opens up following a young boy named Shinji Ikari who’s father created the Evas. You with the backdrop of the cityscape, you can tell that Shinji feels alone and abandoned. His actions and dialog paint an obvious picture of someone who simply doesn’t feel loved. But something happens around episode 4 of the series. Suddenly this disconnected character is making jokes, he’s engaging with people, he’s found his footing in this empty city. Why? What changed. One word…
Over the previous episodes, as the show introduces you to this world, it slowly builds a community for Shinji. He’s developed friends, co-workers, habits. This highlights to us the importance of community and how when a person finds it, no matter how bleak the situations, they can have a glimmer of hope. But the question becomes, what is community? How do we define Biblical community? For this, we’d like to point you to one particular verse to help start you down a road of discovering community.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Acts 2:42 (English Standard Version)
This one verse lays out 4 essential aspects of community. Please understand that there’s a lot of deeper mechanics, but this is a brief overview.
1. Devoted themselves to the Apostles’ Teachings
Every community has to be based off a central system of beliefs. For us as Christians, that means we base our life around the word of God. The scriptures must be taken in context and used to help shape our lives. When you do this in the context of a community, you develop growth. But an essential aspect here is the word “devoted.” We must be resolute and purposefully put ourselves in situations to discover and grow in the word of God.
Fellowship can manifest in a variety of ways. It could range from being part of an online community (such as Devoted Geek Life) to merely going to a friend’s house to watch movies. While we are big fans of the online community, face to face interaction is necessary for authentic community. You need to be able to connect with people without the façade or avatar. Invite some friends to go see a movie together, go to the park and play some Frisbee, have an old school screen peaking Halo party. Whatever it is, get together.
3. Breaking Bread
This is a multi-part aspect. Yes, this does include the concept of communion. Communion is the practice of taking bread and juice together with others in remembers of the life and sacrifice of Jesus. But there’s a more profound element to it. The first communion took place during the Passover, which is a celebration of God’s grace on the people of Israel and their deliverance from Egypt. So get with others and eat a meal together. Sitting around the table together creates a place of openness where you can share each other’s burdens and joys. Laugh, cry, eat good food together, and do it in honor and remembrance of Jesus.
Prayer is not just an essential aspect of the community, but it’s also a necessary aspect of the Christian life. Paraphrasing one theologian, Prayer is to the Christian as breathing is to the body. It is a natural and crucial aspect of life. That said, as we do community, people will open up about burdens, fears, and doubts. Take time to pray for each other. Take times to pray and give thanks for the great things God is doing in each other’s lives. Take time to pray a prayer of encouragement for each other.
If you’re struggling with any of these areas, our challenge to you is to step out in faith and begin to work on them. Start with picking one of the four aspects and working on it.