Community. What does it mean? I’ve been thinking about the word – the concept – a lot recently. Today A and I received an email saying we have been accepted into a new loft community designed for those involved in the arts. While the arts are another discussion, I wonder what it is to design a community. I get these great ideas of having people over for dinner on a regular basis, of learning things from my neighbors, of being connected to others.
I read stories from the ancient world and from my New Testament professor, Dr. David May, that tell of the early Christ followers living differently – of slaves and rich landowners sharing the same meal. And while that might sound quaint and lovely, it is subversive in a culture where everyone has a particular place – and that particular place dictates the bread you eat. It was a sign that something new was occurring – that the narratives given by the empire and by the prevalent culture were false. The new age wasn’t fully realized, but it was starting. And so they ate, remembering the One who said that the wine and bread were his blood and body.
Community is subversive. And I’m not entirely sure what that means in present-day America. I’m not sure what it means for my home in St. Louis. I’ve asked my friend Joshua (for whatever reason, it doesn’t feel right to call you Josh…) to make me a communion set. Joshua and his wife, Alyssa, are started an intentional community in Liberty, MO. I’ve watched over the last several months as the idea has been revised again and again, as new people have been brought in. A and I have talked about using it as a centerpiece on our table, as a visible reminder that every time we gather folks together – whatever their background, purpose or religion – it is sacred. That by meeting together, forging community, admitting that we need others, we are doing something holy. And we pray that somehow, we can be signs of the New Age. Hopefully subversive.
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