A healthy community expresses its dependence upon God both repeatedly and overtly. This reliance is not a mere formality, something assumed just because we are a Christian community. Instead, it is a discipline that is celebrated and pursued as the only way that we will see tomorrow together. We tend to romanticize community, thinking it's the natural product of assembling a group of well-intentioned individuals. But, that's not how it plays out in my life. If I get really close to Paulo, I start to get frustrated with his carelessness - more specifically, how many glasses he breaks when he washes dishes. So, I begin to think Paulo is the problem. But, if I'm honest, is my caustic response to him any less subversive to our pursuit of being one than his carelessness? He's tanking our community, but I'm no less the saboteur. The enemy is in the camp. When everyone in the camp is compromised to some degree, you have to look outward for a Savior. And this Savior doesn't save you from community; He saves you through it. In this way, we become dependent upon each other, since ‘each other’ is most often the means by which God does his works of transformation in us. We must come to understand that the core callings of life - the Great Commission, our sanctification, and the glorifying of God - are all team sports. (1 Cor. 12:21; Eph 4:16; John 17:21-23; Mat. 18:20)
The most consistent example of how the Sombra Road House expresses our dependence upon God is our times of communal prayer. Carol, Adilio and Paulo ride to work together, praying in the car as they go. Claudinho and I pray at the kitchen table. Our prayers are pleas for God to help us understand and live Jesus' prayer in John 17. Then, there are the moments of frustration with each other when dependence upon God looks like petitions for patience, humility and the courage to confront. Claudinho confronts me for my impatience in driving. He prays that I may hear, and I'm asking God to silence my ego which so wants rationalize some defense. Sometimes, guys like Anderson choose to leave the house. In these moments, dependence upon God manifests itself in our continued prayers that Anderson would be led back into community with us. When we are driving to the morro for soccer class, we are asking God to give us words and love that speak into these kids' lives.
Still, we have much to learn in the area of dependence upon God. I see how revisiting the way we buy groceries, pay bills, receive visitors and observe the Sabbath could all lead us to greater understanding of our true need for Him. But, this is nothing in comparison to how we in the house have to learn to depend upon God by becoming dependent upon one another. We are all a bit too contaminated with the notion that our spiritual walk is merely a vertical issue - God and I. I am hopeful that we will grow to embrace our need for one another as another expression of our greater need for God.