Tuesday, October 13, 2009

OPEN HAND - Intentional Faith Community

Open Hand USA is an emerging catholic, missional and monastic faith community: 1997 -2009
Affiliates: Australia -Holland - Kenya - Norway -Romania -USA

Catholic implies a post-Reformation ecumenical embrace of the church in its numerous world wide expressions.

Missional can be summarized by a global focus on the good of the cosmos (world) with a desire to work for God's Kingdom in transforming love for all creation.

Monastic informs us of the ancient rhythms of intentional community and spiritual disciplines woven into the fabric of our relationships.

Emerging means just what it says - an ongoing process of discovery and formulation as we are continually informed and often surprised by what God is doing here and now in our journey of faith as an intentional community in Indianapolis.

C.S. Lewis reminds us that .....we are forbidden to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. The Church is the Bride of Christ and we are members of one another. As Christians we are not called to individualism, but to membership in the mystical body. The very word membership is of Christian origin, but has been taken over by the world and emptied of all meaning. Today it refers to "members of a class or group" and this definition that stands for "particulars included in a homogeneous structure", is almost the opposite of what St. Paul meant by "members". Club membership consists merely of "units", not anything in the Pauline sense.

We can see how true membership in a body differs from inclusion in a collective by looking at a family. The grandfather, the parents, the grown-up son, the child, the dog and cat are true members in the organic sense precisely because they are not members or units of a homogeneous class. They are not interchangeable and each person is almost a species in themselves. If you subtract any one member from the family you have not simply reduced the family in number, you have inflicted an injury on its structure. Its unity is a unity of unlikes, almost of incommensurables.

Inherent in this kind of unity is a richness, a diversity and extreme differentiation of persons in harmonious union which we know intuitively to be our true refuge both from solitude and from the collective. This is real organic unity. The society into which the Christian is called is not a collective but a Body. It is in fact that Body which the family is an image on the natural level. Membership in this body is not a massing together of persons, because at the threshold we discover that the head of this Body is so unlike the members that we are summoned from the outset to combine as creatures with our Creator, as mortals with immortal, as redeemed with sinless Redeemer.

The sacrifice of selfish privacy which is daily demanded of us in the Body is daily repaid a hundredfold in the true growth of personality which the life of the Body encourages. Those who are members of one another become as diverse as the hand and ear. Obedience is the road to freedom, humility the road to pleasure, unity the road to personality. Our structural position in the Church which the humblest Christian occupies is eternal and even cosmic, and the Church will outlive the universe - everything that is joined to the immortal head will share his immortality. The collective is mortal, the individual shall live for ever. Amen

No comments:

Post a Comment