Thursday, October 7, 2010

Living Together

Deep and living wisdom is on display here, wisdom both rare and essential. Wisdom is not primarily knowing the truth, although it certainly includes that; it is skill in living. For, what good is a truth if we don't know how to live it? Eugene Peterson (The Message: Commentary introduction for the book of James)

You can develop a healthy, robust community
that lives right with God and enjoy its results only
if you do the hard work of getting along with each other,
treating each other with dignity and honor.

James 3:18 (The Message)

Having “matured” into adulthood in the late 70’s my husband and I were fascinated with the idea of living in community. Influenced by Francis and Edith Schaeffer we dreamed of a home where a number of people would live, eat and worship together. And, for about five years we lived out that dream as we opened our home to a number of different full and part time community “residents.” Everyone contributed to the life of our small community through cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning, and gardening, at least most of the time.

There were times when someone didn’t get in and do the hard work. Agreements that had been made when moving in were broken. Household jobs were left undone and places set at the table were empty. It was amazing how, when this took place, what had been a smooth and easy operation suddenly jerked and jolted.

When I have the option to pick my friends, getting along isn’t all that difficult. But, put me into a church, a dorm, the workplace and I come face to face with individuals who are my polar opposites. And too many times I have walked away because the effort to be in their “space” takes too much work.

James addresses his letter to a church in the 1st century. It is a letter appropriate for many churches today. Strife and discord plague churches, governments, school boards and neighborhoods because people just don’t want to do the hard work of getting along. The result is that very little gets done and there are lots of empty places at the table.

Jesus, which one of your disciples did you “connect” with?
They seemed as varied as could be imagined and yet you brought them
together, teaching them the hard work of living in community.
Be my Teacher!

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