Here is a story about community:
One day a couple of years ago, I was in a bad mood because my daughters had left toys and stuff all over the house, once again. I even found their toys and stuff in the bathroom, and I was starting to get very angry. As I bent down to pick up the toys by the bath tub, I noticed that the little pile actually was a small toy frisbee, and in it lay two little plastic tyrannosaurous rexes, fangs bared and long claws ready to grip their victim and tear it up before eating it. Yet the frisbee was now their bed, and one of my little girls had tucked the two small T. Rexes in under a soft doll’s blankie. In that instant my anger evaporated and I was flooded with gratitude for my daughter’s insight that even ferocious T. Rexes need to be tucked in and gently cared for. Even T. Rexes have a mommy who cares for them.
This is a story about faith community. We all encounter those ferocious, intense T. Rexes in our churches. I have done pretty good impersonations of a lethal predator from time to time. I know at those times I would have felt a little less bloodthirsty if someone had taken my concerns seriously, provided another T. Rex to commiserate with, and given me a few good God-words to warm me.
Sometimes it feels like the church community itself is the dinosaur. If it isn’t half-extinct already, it seems like it ought to be. That is – believe it or not – entirely to be expected! Walter Wink says that every human institution, including our churches, is created for a divine purpose, is fallen, and also redeemable. All at the same time. Church is never going to be perfect. (Maybe that’s why Jesus didn’t start one?)
So even though it seems to me that my Quaker Meeting – liberal Quakerism – is half-extinct or ought to be, I actually feel quite cheerful. The fact that I occasionally feel like I can’t go to my faith community doesn’t detract from my experience of abundance these days. The thrill I feel at sensing LIFE pulsating everywhere can’t be diminished by the knowledge that something is lacking in my church. God is my five year old mommy who knows to tuck me tenderly in, even when I am a ferocious Tyrannorasurus Rex. What more could I possibly want?
Query for prayerful consideration:
In what ways is your faith community created for a divine purpose? Fallen? And redeemable?