So how can a community be both small and sweet? No, some would say. Our goal is growth! We must add forever to our number!
But our task as followers of Jesus of Nazareth is not first and foremost to build large and vibrant organizations. Our job is to be disciples and in being disciples to make disciples, and to together manifest the love of Christ in the world.
And, sure, some large and bright and shiny churches do that. Big can be part of the ecology of the Kingdom. But big can also become a distraction, as our energies are poured into the structure and choreography of huge and complex systems. They can lead us to mistake material growth for spiritual growth, mistake material success for success in living out the message of Jesus, and to buy into the endless-ever-bigger-lie of our consumer culture.
In the face of the drab monoculture that has become the face of contemporary American Christianity, intimate communities offer up an alternative way of living out that faith.
They offer up that alternative in the same way that small communities of faith authentically lived out the Way during the time when Christ was spread at the edge of the sword.
Small and simple they may be, but they remain, nonetheless, a powerful potential force for the living out of the Good News of Jesus in the world.
My hope is that, in your reading of this little work, that you have found some stories that resonate, and some clues about how you might tend to your own small, sweet, and fruitful patch of the Kingdom.
May that be so, for you and for me.