Future Shape Of Sacred Communities? 3
Another factor that will shape sacred communities in the future is Inspiration
Jesus says that sacred communities can only be true to their vocation through being open and responsive to the inspiration of the Spirit. Jesus said wait for the Spirit, wait on the Spirit, wait till you are immersed in the Spirit. (Acts1.4,5)
According to Genesis, the Spirit of God, who inspires the human spirit, is God ‘incognito’, who lingers with intent, secretly seeking to bring some-thing out of no-thing: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters’. (Gen 1:1-2)
Jesus says, ‘where the Spirit is, there is life’, for it is the Spirit that gives life (John 6.63) And our sacred texts say people can be in touch with Spirit wherever we are, no matter how good or how bad the situation we find ourselves in: ‘Where can I flee from your spirit? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in hell, you are there’ (Ps. 139:7-10)
The ‘fruit’ or ‘key indicators’ of the Spirit are: ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ’(Gal 5.22-23)
Our role is not to generate the work of the Spirit, but to notice it, validate it, celebrate it, participate in it and cooperate with it, as it manifests itself in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, tolerance and self-control – regardless whether we call it ‘Holy Spirit’ or ‘Community Spirit’.
At a personal level a sacred community will nurture a culture of
love – that is passion and compassion
joy – that is awareness and appreciation
peace – that is trust and tranquillity.
At a relational level a sacred community will nurture a culture of
patience – that is persistence
kindness – that is sweetness, not bitterness
At a social level a sacred community will nurture a culture of
goodness – that is generosity
faithfulness – that is fidelity
At a political level a sacred community will nurture
tolerance – that is non-violence
self-control – that is self-management.
As I said before I describe the intentional community I am part of as ‘a network of residents, working towards community in our locality with all people – particularly the most marginalized and disadvantaged people in our area – in a way that reflects the radical, sacrificial, nonviolent compassion of Christ.’
We call ourselves the Waiters Union. Because we don’t want to set agendas or set up agencies, but simply linger with intent in our community, waiting to see signs of Spirit that we can appreciate, participate in and cooperate with.
We nurture love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, tolerance and self-control in our neighbourhood by joining our spirited neighbours in advocating for indigenous rights, welcoming asylum seekers hosting cross-cultural conversations and befriending people on the margins.