sprouting life through every crack in the sidewalk

The kingdom of God is among us. Not easily outlined like our organizations, but it is there, mixed in like leaven, the relationships between its members not outlined in any authority structure or membership requirement, crossing all denominational borders, undefined—yet strong as the most passionate love.

Like the unseen, unorganized web of our friendships. The kingdom of God is an organic community like that, untamed like nature, sprouting life through every crack in the sidewalk.

I wrote that while thinking about "organic community" six years ago, and have been drawn back to that idea again and again. The difference that can be felt between real, God-given friendships and organizational relationships. But I've had enough disappointments in friendships over the past six years that I can understand why people often depend on organizational relationships more. Personal relationships can be fickle and fleeting; not reliable in the long run. People come and go, but the organization (church, business, etc) remains there for you. Not really, but I can understand why people see it that way.

I've had enough disappointments to make me skeptical of a lasting community of friends. But that's not really what I long for, is it? The kingdom of God is an organic community, like friends or family, but it is not just that. Friends (and family) come and go, but the body that is Christ remains. I think this is experienced in God's care in bringing people into (and out of) our lives, supporting us with the living community he provides. It continues to change, and the particular people are often (always?) unreliable and disappointing at times. But the God who is the life of his community remains and is always worthy of our trust. That's why we can continue to enter into new relationships and love again, no matter how often we've been disappointed by people. The kingdom of God remains among us.

The more we recognize and experience that, the less we are fooled by the sad imitations offered by our human institutions.