So what does it mean to be a community following the way of Jesus?
Our goal at St. Columba is to live out an answer.
A few hundred years later, after the first Christians, monasticism arose as a critique of the church in their own time. The desire of monasticism was to answer the above question. A variety of activities were devised to live a life centered on Jesus. All of these ‘ways’ of following can be distilled into the Four Practices: Worship, Community, Formation and Mission.
Worship.Where we begin.
So for us, worship is where it all begins. But what does it look like… It could consist of things that are more ‘traditional’ such as reading the Bible or prayer. Or it could be a hike in the mountains or spending time playing with your kids. To paraphrase theologian Alexander Schmemann: Worship is when the Church is being the Church. This is what Jesus meant when he’s quoted in the gospels of saying: “The kingdom of God is like…” So for us, worship can take many different forms, both individual and corporate, traditional or contemporary. The purpose of our worship is that we focus on Jesus and that our worship will draw us into a lifestyle that reflects Jesus and his teaching.
Community.Incarnation in practice.
For the Community of Saint Columba this idea can take a variety of forms. For some that may mean an exchange of time in order to give rest to those that need it, such as doing gardening for a member of the community or babysitting for a stay at home mom. For others it could mean simply and intentionally spending time having a meal or sharing that meal with others in your neighborhood. (We’ll talk more about intentional community here – another of our three core values.) No matter how you foster community for our community “community” goes beyond simply spending time or being active, it should draw you into deep relationship with each other through Jesus. One of Jesus most important statements was: “…that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11) Our desire is to live this out, so that we may being to understand the intimacy Jesus had with God the Father in our relationships with each other.
Formation.How we change.
But formation is much more than simply repeating an action or activity by rote. Formation is something we will be challenged by our entire lives. Formation should draw us into a deeper relationship with Jesus and his body, the Church. We are formed when we share community; we are formed when we worship together; we are formed in our individual relationship with Jesus; and we are formed when we go and act in our local communities. Formation then is not only for those starting the journey. We are all called to continually be formed in the way of Jesus. Each of us in the community takes on a life plan or “rule of life” which aids us in our own faith journey.
Mission.Living out what we believe.
But what does this look like? Jesus speaks of some very specific ways of participating in the mission of God for the world and our local communities (Matthew 25:31-46). This also means that we are called to live out what we profess to believe. This is most definitely not easy! We fail many times, but the point is that we get up and try again. Our own effort will never accomplish the task. But God is gracious to use our simple offerings as a way to restore relationships, to feed someone who is hungry, to serve our neighbors and most importantly to live a life which is in line with the way of Jesus. Our mission is to proclaim this good news we have received, in word and deed.