We live in a world of information overload and where knowledge is easy to find online. What is more difficult to access is wisdom. Intentional communities have accumulated wisdom since the early church and the days of ‘all the believers were together and had everything in common.’ (Acts 2:44)
Part of the oral wisdom here at Scargill that appeared in morning prayers a while back was, ‘not what do you want to do, but what sort of life do you want to live?’ This is a profound question, and one whose time has come. One of the most common experiences we have heard from guests during this COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown is an amplification of loneliness. Perhaps your answer to the question, ‘what sort of life do I want to live?’ might be, ‘not a lonely one.’
We have been created for relationship, and yet community and the sense of belonging is a scarce commodity in this uncertain new world. Perhaps your answer to the question about the sort of life you want to live, is ‘one lived in community.’ This goes against the flow of our individualistic and materialistic society, where even more we have learnt to live in little bubbles, on our own, or with just a few others.
Intentional community is a place of shelter, but as one of our members of community put it, ‘it is not all jelly babies and peace!’ In community we live by the accumulated wisdom of others who have wrestled fiercely with the theory and practice of living a common life together. If you are to live in community then you need to give something up. In our culture we are taught that freedom is found when we are not beholden or bound to anyone else. The truth is freedom is only found with each other not separately from each other.
One answer that Jesus offers to the question, ‘what sort of life do I want to live?’ is ‘life in all its fullness.’ (John 10:10) I believe life in all its fullness is found in community. If you are asking a new question in your life which isn’t about doing, but more about being, then perhaps it is a whisper from God to consider living in community. We would love to hear from you.
There’s a series of videos on our Join Community page entitled Life in Community which are various community members sharing some of their reflections and experience of being part of the Scargill Community.