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More Than A Heart

And now it’s moving,
and everybody plays a part.
It’s a living breathing being,
with a brain and a heart.
It’s a living breathing being,
you can tell it by its art.
It’s a living, breathing being
just like corporations aren’t.

From Occupy Your Life, by Jon Watts

It’s hard to think of any organ more important than the heart. On a biological level, life would be impossible without it. In the absence of that vital center keeping blood flowing throughout the whole body, any one of us would be dead in moments. No part of the body can survive long without the heart.

Getting a little more metaphorical, the heart can symbolize that which is most central, most vital for us. For a Fortune 500 company, I imagine that the heart would be profit. For a hospital, it would be physical healing. And for a Christian community, ideally, the heart would be our living relationship with Jesus. Just as with a physical heart, no community can survive long without this vital center that orders and unites everything else.

This year, we in the Friends of Jesus community have put a lot of emphasis on nurturing and developing our heart together. We have worked to create a space for worship, engagement with Scripture and encouragement to greater awareness of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We have acted in faith that, if we could deepen our living friendship with Jesus, the rest of our shared life would flow out of that.

Grounded in this sense of hope, we have focused our efforts on developing intimate spiritual commuities – small groups focused on prayer, study of the Bible and contemplative worship. After lots of trial-and-error experimentation, it seems like we may even be succeeding. Our little community here in DC has found its heartbeat.

As joyful as this development is, it also introduces new challenges. We are beginning to see that, as beautiful as this new heartbeat is, we are called to become even more. Our heart is essential to the life of the body, yet without a brain, lungs, hands and feet, arms and legs, it serves little purpose. The heart does not simply beat for its own sake; it exists to sustain the whole body.

We are so thankful that God has given our community a heart. Now, we are invited into a new set of challenging questions: What does it look like to be a whole body together? Is there a life and mission that we are called to share beyond our prayer meetings and worship? What are the other body parts that need to be connected to the life that flows from our worshiping community?

Our small groups cannot exist for their own sake any more than a heart can exist without a body. What is the work, the practical witness, that we are being called to embody together? What is the air we are called to breathe, the light we are called to see, the road we are commissioned to walk?

The answers to these questions are still unfolding, but we can sense that God is calling us to share a life that is bigger than weekly prayer and worship. The only real question is: Will we make space for it?

…Come on, let’s get together.
Someone be the lungs.
Someone be the need to breathe, and
someone be the tongue.
Someone be the eyes and ears, and
someone be the hands
Someone who can persevere,
the feet on which we stand
and you’re the rock, body.
No one’s gifts left useless.
The universe needs you to do the best that you can do with
just what you’ve been given,
with everything you’ve got.
Your finite contribution fills a hole that mine does not.
And together we can stand.
Together we can run.
Together we collect our calories straight from the sun.
Together we envision all our lives combined as one,
and together we compose this bloody, bleeding, beating drum.

From Together We Compose This Bloody, Bleeding, Beating Drum, by Jon Watts

  • Joseph Rogers

    My first reaction to this post is that it seems like a big thing to do the heart work of creating space in our lives for Jesus. Friends all over the world are engaged in good works but I feel that the works have come to replace Jesus and we almost seem to worship the works as the reason to be. I think it is great to be a community that spends almost all of it’s collective time being with Jesus and inviting others to join us.