Near the heart of the CMYK project is the conviction that the limitations and challenges of life can and should be an invitation to life-together. The great moments and accomplishments of life are seldom realized in solitude and are certainly best celebrated with others.
Once upon a time, there were four able-bodied friends who had a fifth friend who could not walk or use his arms. These four friends had heard stories about Jesus and specifically that he did miraculous works of healing. That had also heard that this Jesus was in their town. Together, they set their friend on a mat and carried him across town to the place Jesus was rumored to be. When they arrived, the room was not only full, but full to overflowing. But the faith and resolve of these four friends made a way around (or more accurately, over) the obstacle posed by the crowd, and they somehow got their friend onto the roof of that building. Then, cutting a hole in that roof, They lowered him to Jesus’ feet.
This feat, described in the second chapter of Mark’s Gospel, required a community of people. They could not have carried their friend across town, hoisted him onto the roof and then lowered him to the ground through that hole had there been only two of them, much less only one. Such a great deed required an assembly of people acting in like-mindedness. And I think almost every great act, including acts of faith, bears that same communal character.
I can only imagine the celebration and years of joyful story-telling between the five friends from Mark ch 2. Because after they had done all they could do together, Jesus does something I still find stunning. He not only heals the man at his feet, but He does so because he saw the faith of that man’s friends – the friends who carried him across town, climbed the walls of that building, cut a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend to the floor to be healed.
Not because of the faith of the man in need.
Not because of the need of that same man.
Jesus healed that man because of the faith of his friends.
I think there is something very much like magic in the practice of life together.
- I see it in the way, as scientist Matt Ridley discusses, mind-blowing advanced technology is creeated out of (and ONLY out of) the collective effort of women and men who are unable to do the jobs of their colleagues much less do the whole creative job on their own.
- I see it in the way my church community just provided clean water for over 1000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa by drinking nothing but water for 40 days and giving the money otherwise spent on coffee, juice, beer etc.. to the Blood:Water Mission.
- I see it in the seasons of my life when my faith in God was held together, not by internal fortitude and resilience, but by the strength of others’ faith.
- I see it in the way my own identity is at times affirmed, at times challenged and always shaped by what loved-ones see in me. There are things I believe about myself and my world because I trust the perspective of others over and against my own evaluation.
I don’t think interdependency is a weakness of character or of faith. I think my need for others is an invitation to participate in part of what makes life truly good: community, friendship, family.. togetherness.
I look forward to sharing the songs (new full-length album), letters and stories (first ever published book) that have been born out of my own practice of life-together. The final phase of the CMYK project is just about ready for release.