Andrea Levendusky from The Organic Bird
I'm only freshly 28. I haven't been at this living thing for that long. Community was cool when I was sitting around with peers, daydreaming of a utopian Christianity. But as life has taken some twists and turns, I've learned that when it comes down to it...I know nothing about community. Not until I start living in the messy midst of it.
All I can say is, I've learned to keep my door propped open for whoever might walk in. And more so, to let the deep riches of grace that sustain me, be what flow out from me. Not my ability to keep a pretzel bowl filled.
For example: Dave smelled, and spilled coffee on my carpet.
It's the truth.
When a crowd gathered at my home, voices spilling off the porch onto city streets, inevitably Dave would be knocking at my door. His curly hair was knotted and matted against his neck, wiry-framed glasses slid off the end of his nose and his black jacket was always caked thick with city street dirt.
It started by filling a mug with black coffee and over weeks, months, we became his place to feel a sense of "normal" again. To ask about God. To sit on a couch for 30 minutes, spill a cup of coffee and hear someone say, "Don't worry about it."
While some were concerned Dave was a thief looking for his prime moment, we found he was a broken, lost, confused person who needed Jesus. Sound familiar?
Living community, and not just talking about it, has meant a whole lot of little inconveniences for one greater good. It has meant pulling out the corn chips to stay awake as a friend hangs their ragged heart out at 11 p.m. Adding extra plates to the table for unexpected dinner guests. Makeshift couch-beds for the mourning. Conversations about death, love, faith, hope, from the sun's setting until the breaking dawn.
Seasons like this come and go. These days my door is relatively silent. My home quiet. My food stocked and delved out in small portions to the two of us here. But when the phone rings and feet scuffle up these stairs, grace is a deep well to draw from. When conversations about cancer and death happen on streets and I keep my watch ticking silently behind my back, grace is a gentle wind that swings open the doors of hearts. Keeping an "open door policy" in my life has meant that my food, space, living room, and more so, my heart, my grace, my love... is not mine at all.
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment.... Luke 7:37
At one point or another, either I or someone else has been her — the prostitute who fell at Jesus' feet during a meal to which she was not invited. Shamelessly, she spilled. She worshiped and found redemption.
There is something about the table being set for more than just you. For more than the people you "click" with. Our role isn't to manufacture a community of people who think, look, act and speak the same. Our role is to be a part of God's kingdom, his family, his redeemed kids.
The next time your feet are propped up, be sure to leave the door cracked for whoever is peering in to see if they can find the hope they need so desperately. I want to be one who catches people and tells them stories of how Christ lifts our chins when we've fallen on our face. Whether they are spilling coffee or tears, it's community.