Though doubtlessly punctuated by many profound and uplifting moments, I think it is safe to say that the last month has been a difficult time for many people within our community. We've continued to see God miraculously open doors for us to walk through together, but we've also experienced a lot of heartbreak and loss, and have suffered within our very bodies the pain and anguish of loving people who are difficult to love or who don't love us. And we've also had to go to very frightening places within ourselves or hand in hand with others in our efforts to express an authentic and lasting climate of compassion. And these are things that have only multiplied my awe for the people that God has assembled in this time and place, and named Communality. So, I would simply like to say thanks to every saint who puts an eye to this page, but even more importantly puts flesh and blood upon the gospel. You are an amazing group of people whose love for Jesus becomes more apparent by the day, and only shines the brighter for the doubts, questions, struggles, and turmoils that you regularly bring upon yourselves in your efforts to love. (there's more)
I've been reading the Psalms a lot lately, particularly the Psalms that tradition ascribes to David as he was fleeing for his life from Saul. And one verse from Psalm 39 (as translated in the New Living Version) really struck a chord within me as I was reflecting on the struggle to love against all odds. It says:
"Hear my prayer, O Lord! Listen to my cries for help! Don't ignore my tears. For I am your guest-a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me."
I am the "guest" of God as I journey through this life? What an amazing thought it is to imagine ourselves as God's guests! And what I took from David's bold petition to God to literally be his host in this life, is a sense of how profoundly important it is to be grateful for life no matter what the circumstances may be. The psalms that David penned during this period could never be described as unduly rosy or naivelly optimistic, but nonetheless speak with incredible power to the goodness and faithfulness of God and how it ultimately transcends every hardship. But without an attitude of gratefullness to God for giving us life, it seems impossible for us to see the bigger picture. And for us the bigger picture is the resurrection of our Lord. It's the reality that Jesus is here in our midst through the power of his Holy Spirit. He's not awaiting resurrection, even though in many ways I still act like I'm awaiting resurrection! The scriptures say that just as Jesus was raised, we also will be raised. And that is something in which I take great comfort and security, because it means that I don't have to wait until heaven to make a difference in the hell that I so often see here and now. I don't have to be passive toward the evil that I see in the world, and I don't have to let it overwhelm me when it so often encroaches. We are living by a new reality, and that reality is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And although it doesn't mean that things are going to be perfect here and now, it does mean that perfection exists and that we will one day share it with our Lord. And this belief is something that we've got to carry with us every day as we seek to wage peace in a world torn by war, by all of the things that we so regularly see.
David admonishes us to not spend too much time fretting over the evil that men and women do. Instead, he points us to the hesed, the loving faithfulness of the God who hosts us in this life. And if we give him the chance, he longs to prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies (within and without, real and imagined) and anoint our heads with oil...........
At any rate, so ends my reflection, or at least my attempt to offer some measure of hope or encouragement from the stirrings of the Holy Spirit within me........and my thanks to all of you for helping to host me in this life (and in the new life that Maria and I are going to be entering)! May we all have faith to demand along with David that God be our host in this life.