“A community cannot remain static. It is not an end in itself. It is like a fire which must spread even at the risk of burning out.
A moment comes when a community can only grow through separation, sacrifice and gift. The more it finds unity, the more it must be prepared in some sense to lose it, through the free gift of some of its members who will create other networks of love and communities of peace.
That is the meaning of life. Life reproduces itself. Growth means the appearance of flowers and fruits, which carry the seeds of new life. A community which jealously keeps its members to itself and doesn’t take chances in this extraordinary work of procreation is running a far greater risk: the risk of withering away. If the corner isn’t turned, if the evolution of a community towards greater giving is not encouraged, its members will become infantile, close to regression. They will become sterile and life will not flow through them. Like dead branches, they will be good only for the fire.
So many communities are dead because the people who carry responsibility in them have not known how to encourage their young members to give life in the procreation of new communities. The time of love has passed and they have come to a stage of sterility and frustration. It will then be hard to refind the forces of love and life.”
– Jean Vanier, Community and Growth
Have you ever heard of someone “doing a Luke 10”? They’ve become a bit of a thing in our circles over the last few years.
- Ask the “chief farmer” to send workers out into the “harvest”, then go.
- Don’t take extra stuff, whether a purse, bag or sandals. Don’t spend time chatting to everyone passing by.
- If you find people of peace and hospitality, bless them.
- Eat whatever you’re given.
- Heal their sick people and tell them the kingdom of God has arrived in town.
- If people reject you, move on.
Michael Frost told a story of one megachurch that padded out a team with millions of dollars and sent them to a slum in India. The team flew over and swept in triumphantly, gathering the residents to tell them the glad tidings of their arrival and what they were planning to do.
After leaving work early on Friday and signing some pieces of paper at the estate agent’s office we spent a very busy evening lugging furniture, driving a van back and forth, cleaning and moving bags and boxes around.
I promised I’d publish a post describing the marks of our new common purse, the core qualities we intend it to be marked by, and here it is.
Some of the trustees of the New Creation Christian Community had arranged to meet up with me to talk about our new community initiative, what relationship it would have to the current setup, how it would be best administered and how they could support us.