Like a scratch orchestra harbouring secret dreams of playing the Royal Albert Hall, or a team of pub footballers dreaming of the Champions League, mayBe aspires to become something that seems beyond us. We are just a little local thing, but we want to become a community following in the way of Jesus by prayer, action and blessing for a better world now. We know too that the music of the small town ceilidh can be as uplifting as that heard coming from the biggest of stages, and we know that Sunday afternoon football on the park can be just as much the beautiful game as the version played at Real Madrid. It's the values that count. Our feel for the music. The way we play the game. The spirit of the thing. So this is the spirit of mayBe community...
The God-man Jesus of Nazareth was described by the Gospel-writer John as being full of grace and truth. We are seeking to be a community of Christ - and so we know that we need to carry his mark (if we can bear it): grace. Jesus urged his followers to love one another. We are realistic about community. It's not always easy. But we are committed to the idea of authentic community and, more importantly, to enabling authentic community to happen in and around us in mayBe. The journey is a shared journey, and we long for it to be a grace-filled one. And so in mayBe community we have committed ourselves to being peaceful in our exchanges with each other, giving no space to sarcasm or aggression. We are cultivating generosity. We are looking for the good in each other and in ourselves. We are practising forgiveness. We honour each other. We seek to hold each other and each other's fragments that God might bring us back to wholeness.
We are excited that the adventure into God-centred living is a continuing journey, not a one-off event. We understand that we do not understand. We recognise that every welcome insight we receive opens up a greater vista to be explored. We like the idea of space to journey together as a Christian community. We love to learn. We are trying to listen. We want to grow and mature. Our confidence to do this comes from our roots: The bible is the text that forms us. We are nourished by Jesus's meal - the Eucharist. We are part of the Church of England. And we stand in the tradition of our brother and sister Christians down the centuries and around the world. It's this grounding that gives us confidence to explore. With these roots down, our walls can come down.
Much of scripture - for example the Old Testament Prophets, the sayings and actions of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, and the book of Revelation - is about raising and changing expectations. Following in this tradition mayBe is trying to re-imagine the world that we live in. To see it as God might see it. To look for the beautiful stuff that has been buried in the dirt, and to bring it to the surface. To see the poetic in the everyday. To seek beauty. To wonder. And so the small and seemingly insignificant stuff of life is important to us. We hope that people will find us pointing excitedly to the horizon, goggle-eyed at the wonders of technology, and dancing as the music carries us away. Like the Biblical Psalm-writers we hope to be frequently left open-mouthed. And sometimes even speechless.
Words are (relatively) easy. The tough bit is doing it. Living the vision. Being Christ-community. And becoming more faithful followers of Christ. We know that this will take commitment. Energy. Time. Grit. Inspired in part by the early church - which formed around Jesus's disciples and had to face persecution and trials of all kinds - we are cultivating stick-ability. We know that to deepen in prayerfulness and wisdom is likely to be a demanding thing. We recognise that the route to healing and wholeness will require changes in us. We sense that holiness (truly human-living) is not a cheap acquisition but can be only the result of a lifetime's commitment. We will commit ourselves to Jesus Christ and his way. We will encourage each other. We will dig deep.
At the heart of Jesus's message in action and word was his insistence that things were changing. That, despite appearances to the contrary, God's just and gentle rule was breaking in. That those with ears to hear and eyes to see should be listening and looking for signs of life-bringing change. But also that there were other, death-dealing powers at work that will not give up without a fight. There is a long biblical tradition of pointing out the difference between the life-giving and death-dealing powers. Of being quick to praise, ready to lament. It's a mighty tradition in whose steps we are humbly trying to follow. And so mayBe is holding out for the real thing *. We want to be characterised by celebration of all that is good in the world. And resistance to all that is dehumanising and destructive.
We aim to play with a light touch. And mayBe values laughter. Not just tee-hee - though we like that - but also deep, affectionate and joyful belly-laughter. Because laughter is a sign of hope. Of life. Of resurrection. For all shall be made alive with laughter *. And we try to laugh at ourselves - particularly and crucially at the all-too-real gap between what we profess to be and what we actually are.
Whatever the tune we play, whatever the state of the game, we play believing that Jesus Christ is present. That God is around. That heaven and earth are likely to meet. This changes everything. Every time we are together and for whatever purpose - sharing a meal, going to the cinema, meeting for coffee, gathering for Eucharist and prayer - Christ's presence may gently soak into us. And seep out, possibly even flow. And so the music will be more generous, and the game more adventurous. The scratch orchestra will draw in those who have no idea they can play, and the pub football team will welcome players who haven't kicked a ball in decades. God's just and gentle rule will break in and will break out. may it be so....... *David Dark