SPACES – SHARING SPACES
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 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 2:42 (ESV)
Living in a compartmentalized culture is becoming quite difficult, as we are separating more and more of our lives into different spaces, categories, sections. And our culture does a great job of keeping it all separate as it tailors to each of these specific needs. Consider for a moment advertising. Think of how specialized it is. Whatever you search for on the web, somehow there is an ad to match that. You open your email and there seems to be banner ads and bold keywords that match the content of your email. Of course you are used to all the ads on your social media identities; they actually reinforce that compartment of your life.
Or maybe take a look at your calendar. How many different activities, events, times are set aside for different parts of your life? How many of those things are individual? Communal? Do they spend resource on one compartment or do they actually bleed over into other facets of life? It can become quite dizzying when you look at the ways in which we’ve succombed to the compartmentalization of our lives. We think that in some compartments of our lives we are living life-on-mission, but, even when that’s true, it’s not done in life-on-life (like Jesus so often did) or life-in-community (again, like Jesus did).
There is a different way and it is not new. Rather, it is something that we instinctively know when we experience. We may live in all kinds of different spaces, but we also know that many of those spaces are shared, shared by relationships, by proximity, by common interests, by goals. As a follower of Jesus, they are all shared by mission, the mission to fill all of them with His Glory. In order to do that, we need to be intentionally immersed in a community of people who share the common space of that mission, for when we do, we are engaged, encouraged, and equipped to go to those other spaces fulfill our mission. In order for us to live life-on-mission, we here at Life choose to immerse ourselves in missional communities (life-in-community) and DNA groups (life-on-life).
We still long for community because nothing can replicate life-on-life. All the ways that culture attempts to separate only seems to underscore our need for community. The individualistic nature of our society only belies the community that is always present just below the surface. The strange thing? Our need for sharing spaces with each other is no different than it was when Jesus was here, even as much of their culture was being separated. The early church followed the life-in-community that Jesus modeled with His disciples. In fact, they did it so well that people noticed and saw how differently they loved one another. How they care for each other. How they equipped each other to occupy their spaces. May we follow the same, sharing our spaces with each other well so that we can then fill our separate spaces with the glory of God.