The Peril of Potted Plant Christianity

The Peril of Potted Plant Christianity

You’ve seen the row of potted plants in the garden section of your local home improvement store. Row after row of flowers, succulents, bushes, evergreens. They are nestled together for hours. Rubbing shoulders for days.

But are they together? Are they connected? Not at all. Sure, they are next to each other, but they aren’t connected in the soil, they aren’t sharing the spray from the hose. Their roots are restricted. They don’t pull and tug when one is moved.

These plants are together, but they are also alone.

How many of our church communities are just like these potted plants?

Sunday after Sunday, class upon class, and home groups that run for years—it’s easy to sit next to each other and never be connected to one another. Close but closed off.

Proximity doesn’t equate community. Community isn’t mere closeness.

Real communities have roots. They pray for one another, serve one another, help one another, care for one another, love one another, weep and celebrate together in a chain reaction of connectedness, share and bear our burdens, on and on. They know and are known.

Jesus didn’t die for a group of potted plants. He purchased a people, a vineyard, sheep in his pen.

His field, his church, is mixed together, growing together, supporting one another, like branches shooting from the vine. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me” (John 15:5).

Potted plants can’t bear much fruit. But a farm does. Fields flourish.

Do you think there is something to the fact that the Lord placed Adam and Eve in an interconnected garden as the ecosystem of their flourishing? What about Babel and the disconnectedness as discipline and judgment? How about Solomon riffing on broken down gardens in the Proverbs? Christ’s empty garden tomb? A well tuned and tilled garden glimmers of a gospel community.

Don’t let proximity to other people trick you into thinking that you have community. Connectedness is a sign of fellowship. Check your roots. Check the fruit.

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