Community is the point. The point: the Image of God in us. “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness,” God said. (Genesis 1:26) I know the prescribed Christian spin I’m supposed to put on all of those plural pronouns. But I’m much more interested in the fact that God is talking in plurals, about Godself, than I am in the acceptable human definitions of that linguistic challenge.
Us. Not us and them and absolutely not us versus them. Just..
Our DNA (one of the languages of God, in my opinion, if you must know), was formed in the million year cauldron of dependence on others. An individual, on his/her own, in a prehistoric environment where animals and weather were both large and unpredictable, stood little chance of making it through the week alive. In a community, however- a family, a band, a tribe- individuals had a chance to live into another year and, in so doing, create new community members.
That was a plan that worked. We know it did, because we are here, writing and reading about their success.
It is in us to be in Community. When we have the opportunity, we will default to it, in fact, under the right conditions. You can read more about it, in five minutes, if you wish; or, you can watch Community happen in this video. It is a small and temporary Community, but it is a real one. Watch it form. Watch it include. Watch its power to make people forget themselves and be in communion with each other (on a subway!):
In a Community, individual egos are not merely shed, they are given over. It is not hyperbole to say they are sacrificed for the good of the whole. It doesn’t happen all at once by merely walking into a relationship with another, or others. It is a gradual movement, a gathering in which the “our image” of the above quote from Genesis becomes the defining mortar of the group (a group of two, ten, or thousands). One by one, individuals discover Community as they look up one day through new eyes and notice a new intensity of colors and movement; they begin to make discoveries about themselves that are..flabbergasting:
“I care for her more, far more, than I care about myself.”
“I want him to be happy at whatever cost there is to myself.”
“They are more important than me.”
“I am loved.”
You can see the micro-beginnings of these statements even on that subway, can’t you? Unfortunately, we know that each person eventually arrived at their stop, and had to leave. But don’t we also know that there was a reluctance in each of them to do so?
Nobody wants Community, real Community, to end.
In fact, it is not meant to end.
So don’t let that happen.
(More to come.)