The time is starting to fall between my fingers now during these last days of a perfect holiday in Cape Town. The speed has been a perfect kind of slow. The days have been a subtle kind of long. But now, the air feels thin, like I’m doing my best to gulp in as much as I possibly can.
As always, senses heighten in those kinds of times. They did this afternoon.
Walking with a good friend in the hot sun on a perfect Cape Town afternoon, I was reminded of the holy space we are given to be in and share the whole of life with other people. There are constantly sad stories of what churches––people––try to do to force community among each other, aiming for it like a bull’s eye. I’ve felt people try so hard to demand community that the very last drops of life are squeezed out, and all goes dry.
But walking through that field today, with this friend and these thoughts, a quote from Michael Frost came to mind:
“Aiming for community is a bit like aiming for happiness. It’s not a goal in itself. We find happiness as an incedental by-product of pursuing love, justice, hospitality, and generosity. When you aim for happiness, you are bound to miss it. Likewise with community. It’s not our goal. It emerges as a by-product of pursuing something else.”
I took a deep breath on that walk home today, and gave thanks when realizing that I was, in fact, breathing in the fumes of holy community. The gift of walking with another who is trusted, and who trusts. Who is willing to brave dreams and nightmares simultaneously. Who allows me to be complex, and who bears complexity. Walking together, as followers of Christ, standing in that gap trying our hardest to keep a tight hold of a world going not well with one hand, and the coming of the kingdom with the other.
I was walking in true community this afternoon, and its thickness and richness is holy indeed; I’m beyond thankful for this time. In joining God’s people toward kingdom lives of love, justice, hospitality and generosity, we notice all of a sudden, on afternoon walks with a good friends in the hot sun on perfect Cape Town afternoons, that we have indeed landed in and come face to face with true community.