We have had a full on week- lots of great social stuff- Audrey and Alistair’s birthdays, a bonfire night celebration, an Aoradh planning meeting- as well as the usual family/housegroup/work business.
This morning Emily has some kind of lurgy, and so I am waiting for Michaela to bring some work home in order to allow me to go and do mine.
Which gives me time to reflect a little on the week that was, and the week to come.
As ever, I find my mind drawn to the stuff of friendship and relationships, and how this interacts with the life and call of faith.
Aoradh is at an interesting point in our development. We have been going for a while, and have had some real highlights that we are all proud of. Of course in any such communal enterprise, there is a rich combination of friendship, creativity, energy- along with the usual minor frustrations and tensions that erupt from time to time.
We continue to function with no ‘leader’- and at present, this feels slightly less comfortable, as we are in a process of deliberately reforming and rethinking the what?/whom?/why? questions. There has been a little whiff of storming in the forming, and I think there is likely to be more to come.
One of the tensions has been the issue of COMMUNITY. To me, this is central to everything we do as Christians. To others it is something that requires time- and as such is a pleasant addition to the real business and tasks that we engage in. For others, ‘community’ seems too tame, and the words that fit better are more subversive ones- band of gorilla/pirate/counter-cultural Christians. I think we can be all of these things, but we need to learn to respect one another’s different needs, and affirm one another by constantly re-learning the Jesus way of love.
Written like this- it sounds easy doesn’t it? But of course, this is the harder road to travel. It is a discipline that we learn, and practice imperfectly. Some have greater gifting, but for we followers of Jesus, it is not optional- but commanded.
One of the issues that we spoke about the other day is our differing needs for overt communication of respect/affirmation/assurance of value. We all need this at some level of course, but so much of it depends where we start from- our degree of herited vulnerability perhaps.
One of the interesting issues for anyone who spends time amongst artistic folk, is that many of us exhibit a high level of such vulnerability. The resultant introspection and the drive for artistic expression are sometimes related of course.
There is a beautiful promise on life offered by encounters with the Living God. This promise is for the hope of transformation. Those of us who carry wounds- and lets face it, most of us do- our prayer is for them to be taken away- like some kind of cosmic conjuring trick.
But this has never been my experience. Rather than a magic wand being waved, something altogether more hopeful is possible, that I can only describe in this way- the polarity of the thing subtly changes- from negative, to positive.
What was once a burden can become a place of blessing for others.
Kind of like the promise of the the rainbow- that is after all, only rain, mixed up with light to arc above the moment in something transcendent.
In this way, brokenness leading to social vulnerability (mixed up with light) can become deep sensitivity to others, or wonderful artistic expression.
Or obsessional task centredness (mixed up with light) can become a willingness to help others towards structure and organisation.
Or the instincts that set us on the cynical outside looking in (mixed up with light) can become a way of seeing things in unique and insightful ways.
But how is this promise made possible?
My conviction remains that the hope is to be found in community- and the subordination of all things to a higher principle called- LOVE. This is the Jesus blueprint.
“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.