Friday, July 13, 2012

Seats Along the Road: A Vision of Community

I'll admit, I like the band Linkin Park. I have since their first album, and I actually have really enjoyed even their newer albums that perhaps haven't been quite as "hard." The lyrics in many of them are ones that I can just resonate with. Their newest album, Living Things, is a perfect example of this. While still trying to get the blood pumping on some songs, there are also several gems of lyrical melody. In particular, the words of the song "Roads Untraveled" gave me chills when I first listened - particularly the last verse.


"Roads Untraveled" by Linkin Park
Weep not for roads untraveled
Weep not for paths left lone
Cause beyond every bend is a long blinding end
It's the worst kind of pain I've known

Give up your heart left broken
And let the mistake pass on
Cause the love that you lost wasn't worth what it cost
And in time you'll be glad its gone

Weep not for roads untraveled
Weep not for sights unseen
May your love never end and if you need a friend
There's a seat here along side me


Isn't it interesting how music can move us, and get to the core of our being? Art does that, and a well crafted poem, movie, picture, or song can latch on to our emotions and mind in a way that is difficult to express otherwise. Today, I'm wanting to attempt to express the truth that this song illuminated for me.


This truth is about the nature of community. Community as a gathering of people who walk alongside each other on this journey we call life. Community from the perspective of individuals who are seeking to find their way, with all the loves and hurts that come with that walk. 


We all are on a journey, attempting to navigate our way through life. We are all trying to find love, truth, purpose, or even merely acceptance. Yet, when we find it often it seems that lines are drawn and groups formed. There is the group of "us" and the group of "them." Such castes are formed, whether family, hobby, national, or even by demographics. It smacks me in the face whenever I decide to watch the news or read editorials. Groups are formed around something, whether ideals, a mission statement, an affinity, or simply self-interest or profit.


Unfortunately, even faith communities often fall into this category. You can be among us if you believe, act, or behave like we do. Too often doubts, tensions, or duplicities in people's lives are covered up or repressed. Public figures have private lives that get found out and bring down their public persona...and the church is no different. People hide discomfort because they somehow think it will be a strain on the community of faith they belong to. 


Fortunately, not all communities are like this. God continues to reveal and draw people closer to himself, of this I am sure. Many communities actually care, or are trying to work through the issues in which they face. 


Which brings me to my pondering...which is how to foster and work to build just such a community, embracing and walking alongside each other in the midst of what we both know and doubt. Skeptics and believers, young and old, there should be no division that trumps a unity which is necessary in authentic community. Most of the issues of the day can be resolved if we see other people as just like us, and not a "them." 


Pretty much, I wonder how I can be a part of community that is exactly like the ending of the song "Roads Untraveled:"

May your love never end and if you need a friend
There's a seat here along side me




Who is willing to sit next to me? 


Who is willing to let me sit next to them?

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