When we say that we’re “sharing life,” we’re being intentionally ambiguous kind of like this picture.
Like the faces pointing in, we’re sharing our lives. According to St. James, the kingdom of God operates under one law, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8). Of course we can’t do that from a distance and so we must become enmeshed in each others lives. The things that make up our lives on this earth, our time, attention, and things flow across the bond of love.
On the night he was betrayed, Christ took his cup and passed it around said, ““Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:27a-28 NIV) He literally shared his life with us and with the world. Since we now hold that chalice, we are compelled to pass it around to invite a world dying of thirst to taste of the life he so lovingly gave. And so the cup reminds us of our mission to share his life with each other and with the others he died to save.
There are times when the two connotations of the phrase, “sharing life,” can become out of balance. Groups that become tight knit can become too inwardly focused and fail to share the life of Christ outwardly into the dying world. More rarely, groups can become so militantly mission minded that ignore the wounded among them and so fail to demonstrate the presence of Christ in their midst as a loving community.
I encountered this clip from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life,” at Sentralized 2012. Neil Cole showed it to demonstrate our tendency in the church to lose our missional edge. It has a few “PG” words in it so if you only watch “G” rated movies you might skip it. As you watch it, consider how a platoon of soldiers might appropriately bond and take care of each other while also advancing against the enemy. How would that translate into the way we share life as God’s soldiers against the unseen forces marshaled against us?