Community Manifesto – Practice of Common Life

We live in an age that compels us to the instant and the brief.  The faster our life moves, the more activity we seem to be able to squeeze into the seconds that tick around the clock with NASCAR- like speed.   Our computers, tablets and phones are permanently stuck to our hand, as if some chemical reaction happens the minute our skin touches its smooth, sleek surface.  And before you know it, our technology has become a permanent appendage that may need to be surgically removed.

We limit our conversations to 140 characters or less, emoticons replace our actual words and Facebook traps us in our homes as it becomes our primary method of social engagement.  All in all, if we had to, we would never need to look into another human being’s eyes and have a conversation – an actual conversation.  Instead we can hide behind bright screens with our thumbs dancing over letters and have predictive texting speak for our hearts – all for the sake of time.

Two men, followers of Jesus, walk along the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), their hearts heavy.  It’s the third day, and they are desperately hoping that what their Beloved told them is true.  You see, it’s been three days and they remember well what Jesus promised as they reeled from the announcement of death, remember well that the tomb was supposed to be empty on the third day and it was most decidedly empty but, where was Jesus?

Their hearts heavy, sorrow etched and creased across their brow, this is how Jesus finds them.  And as He walks beside them they open their hearts to Him, though they haven’t yet recognized who is sharing this journey.  They open the wounds of grief, lay the jagged edges of them wide open to a stranger.  And when the time comes when they should have parted ways, when Jesus should have taken the fork in the road to Jerusalem, He alters His plans and dines with them.

I would like to think that Jesus recognized their need for conversation, their need for normal, sharing a meal and a common bond, Him.  It was over bread that evening, as He took it and broke it, much like He did at the Last Supper, that their eyes were opened and they recognized who was living a normal rhythm of life with them. Jesus. 

Jesus, who “through the Spirit of Holiness was appointed the Son of God  in power, by His resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4) stopped and entered more deeply into the lives of these two heart-weary travellers in order that He might open their eyes to His grace.

And when we take the time, moments really, in the grand picture of life, to enter deeply into the lives of those with whom we have covenanted to live and live fully, Jesus reveals Himself.

He is there in the whispered prayer with a desperate friend.  He is there in the hug that comes when you’d rather be building walls to protect your heart.  He is there in the laughter of a joke and the good times that come from fellowship.  He is there when life seems to press just a little too hard and a hand reaches out to help with a task or a chore. 

We don’t always recognize Him, but this practice of community, this commitment to nurture common life?  It’s a pathway into entering into life more fully with HIM! 
Break bread, make time, give a hug, a helping hand and commit to living life to the very fringes with people, real live, warm-bodied, not computer pixilated images on a screen, people.  

Jesus is there in the midst and He breaks the bread with us!

*** Do you want to read what started it all? You can right here—> Introduction & The Practice of Public Worship.  Can I gently encourage that you also go here and hear the messages that inspired the series?  The Practicing Church, The Communal Church and Missional Church***




Leave a Reply