Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation

A Community for All

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


A Community for All
Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Jesus’ intimacy with the nature of God as relationship inspired him to redefine the boundaries of family and tribe. Jesus extended kinship to everyone. Author and scholar Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014) looks to Jesus for a fundamental understanding of what it means to be Christian community:

Jesus had a fundamental vision—faith that all people [emphasis mine] are “children of God.” This is the theological perspective of his “program,” on which everything else rests. I am supposing that he took this seriously, more or less literally, . . . teaching that each person has an uncreated soul that is actually a continuation of the Divine Life itself. When he met a person, therefore, he really believed that God was somehow present in that person, so he looked for that presence through all the overlying contradictions to it, until he found it. Then he addressed himself to that point in the person. As the Hindus also say, the divine in him saluted the divine in the other. When anyone does that, it tends to awaken the divine in the other, who is thus invited to speak from that place in return. [Notice the mutuality! It begins with one person’s generous gaze, which is then returned in kind.] This is the sort of thing we will need to accustom ourselves to doing if we are to succeed in developing the further levels of the [Jesus] program. . . .

[One of the images of] Jesus’ friendship community in which there are no lords or servants . . . was the family and the extended kinship [network]. . . . There are no sexual, racial, or historical barriers to membership in this family. Its intention is to include everyone. But this does not mean that it has no structure, no principles, no operating dynamic. It has these with great clarity, especially since they are all simple and even obvious, once the basic principle of social and personal equality has been seen and accepted. . . .

Once you see the basic truth, he might insist, that we are all God’s children and therefore absolutely equal, the rest of it is just common sense. You don’t need a divine teacher to spell it out for you, much less to set up a new battery of regulations and sanctions. You can make all the deductions and applications yourself and you will live by them because you see the truth and genuinely want to live that way.

Richard again: I believe most Christians have good intentions to follow Jesus’ example, but they are quickly overrun by the “me-first” norms of mainstream culture. In moments of crisis, however, we seem to tap into something deeper and truer. We remember our kinship with one another. In the first weeks of the pandemic, I heard media reports of hoarding and price gouging, but I have heard far more stories of generosity, courage, compassion, and sacrifice for the sake of others. We do not all have the same gifts, but many seem to be giving their very best.

Beatrice Bruteau, The Holy Thursday Revolution (Orbis Books: 2005), 210, 220.

Image credit: Dressing for the Carnival (Detail), Winslow Homer, 1877, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: We learn and are healed by committing ourselves to others. —Richard Rohr
Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.