One of the most profoundly meaningful periods of my life was my second semester at Earlham School of Religion, when I was living as part of a radical Christian community called Renaissance House, in an impoverished neighborhood in Richmond, Indiana.
Renaissance House drew all sorts of people. Young and old; middle class and poor; highly educated and barely literate; and people in various states of distress, whether immediately visible or not. We were together almost constantly. Several times each day, a few of us would gather for a simple liturgy. And three times a week, we would host a public dinner, inviting all our neighbors. Gathered around the table were the mentally ill and homeless, local businesspeople and families with children, seminarians and professors. We were a motley crew.
This was one of the most joyful times of my life. It was also one of the hardest. The intensity of living in that kind of community, and the level of honesty and reevaluation that God was calling me to, was almost overwhelming. This kind of Kingdom life was ferociously challenging. I was confronted in so many ways, inside and out. In an amazingly short period of time, I was changed dramatically.
In my life today, the pace of transformation is a little more gradual. I am learning to be in relationship with God through the long seasons of daylight and darkness, comfort and pain, joy and sorrow. Yet, I don’t want to lose sight of the amazing power and purpose that is possible when my life is given over completely to the experience of following Jesus in community. What does it take to stay connected to that life of wonder, adventure and exploration? Is there anything that I am holding onto that keeps me from that life of surrender to Christ?
Can you remember a time when your life felt truly aligned with God’s purposes for you? Do you recall moments in which you were filled with love, joy, and peace? What were your relationships like at these times? What was the focus of your life: your work, play, and rest? Are you living in that state of joy and power today? If not, what’s holding you back?