I call it home.
Crazy: yes. Demanding often. Overwhelming occasionally. And good always (whether it feels good or not).
When you live in intentional community for a year with 5 other young adults like I’m currently doing, you learn a thing or two about community — how it helps, how it hurts, what it looks like, God’s vision for what it could look like.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).
Keyword here might be “devoted.” We have to choose to participate intentionally, persistently, sometimes tiredly or confusingly or begrudgingly in Word and Sacrament, people and prayers.
And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles (Acts 2:43).
When we experience and reflect on our experience of all that teaching and fellowship and breaking of bread and prayers, both personally and corporately, there is awe. There is awe that God actually shows up in so many manifestations from priest to parishioner, altar table to dinner table.
And all who believed were together and had all things in common (Acts 2:44).
I do not have all things in common with my other community members by any stretch of the imagination — not the stuff of everyday life, anyways. Not personality traits, beliefs, hometowns, favorite foods to keep in the kitchen, or favorite radio stations to play in the car. But, somehow, I do have all things that are of ultimate significance in common with them. We share “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” — and that transforms the stuff of everyday life (Ephesians 4:5). Whether someone chooses brussel sprouts or burgers, bar hopping or book clubs, becomes less of a fissure in the fabric of community and more a fact of life in community. We learn to communicate the unique facts about ourselves and learn that they need not be cause for self-consciousness regarding our difference nor grounds for judging others over their difference. Because community perhaps isn’t primarily about agreement with the people around us but about abiding with the people around us.
And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need (Acts 2:45).
Abiding with people around us, we see need — physical, emotional, and spiritual need. In my community, this mostly looks like giving away time and energy. Our calendars are some of our most important “possessions and belongings.” On my own, I can be selfish with that calendar. In community, I learn to try distributing my time to others — not unnecessarily, unhealthily (personal time really is healthy) but as any had need. If a community member needs to talk, pray, hug, get a ride to the airport, or just have fun, community gives away something of ourselves and distributes it to the others.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:46-47).
Taking the time out to meet community members’ needs, perhaps especially in today’s scheduled society, is beautiful. And then you add in doing it “day by day.” Sitting down and “breaking bread” when I was planning to just grab a PB&J. Being glad, in some way, for the person next to me even though they annoyed me that morning. Being generous, in some way, with newcomers who visit even though they have no “right” to . That’s hard. That’s not just a beautiful community; that’s getting at a gospel community. When we abide together not because of our agreement and meet another person’s need not because of their achievement but because of grace.