The Common Good

The State of the Communion

Tuesday was a big day here in Washington, D.C. The president of the United States addressed both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court, laying out his State of the Union. In this annual speech, the president lays out his vision of where the country is at, and where we are headed. With great pomp and circumstance, the Commander-in-Chief delivers a message for the whole nation.

Renata Sedmakova/Shutterstock
We were together receiving the State of the Communion of the Kingdom of God. Renata Sedmakova/Shutterstock

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Tuesday night was a big moment for my community, too. The D.C. small group of Friends of Jesus gathered for our first small group meeting of 2014. We caught up with one another after many weeks apart. We experienced the story of Acts 2 in the form of a bibliodrama that we acted out together. We shared a time of deep worship and prayer.

As we sat in the silence, waiting on God, I remembered that the State of the Union address was taking place at that very moment. We hadn’t consciously planned it this way, but I was struck by the feeling that we were attending an alternative State of the Union, one presided over not by any earthly leader, but by Jesus himself.

While millions around us were gathered in homes, bars and other public places to watch the State of the Union of the United States, we were together receiving the State of the Communion of the Kingdom of God. In our own simple, gentle way, we were exercising our citizenship in that alternative social order — a reign not of human wisdom or military might, but of the living Spirit of God and of his son, Jesus.

I was reminded again in this moment that it is Jesus, the living and reigning president of presidents, who is my Commander-in-Chief. I was humbled to realize that our little fellowship, meeting in a home in eastern D.C., is vitally important in God’s eyes. Gathered around the throne of Jesus, we were present with him as he addressed his holy nation, the people of God.

The reign of God is not something that we can point to and say, Look, there it is! Yet, in moments of silent waiting on the Spirit, we discover this new order right here in our midst. In the simple communion of food, silence, Scripture, and prayer, we are encountering the living power of Jesus – a leader who truly cares for his people and knows our pain. In the amazing and undeserved love that he shows us, we find strength to love others. The state of the Communion is strong.

Micah Bales is a founding member of Friends of Jesus, a new Quaker Christian community, and has been an organizer with Occupy Our Homes DC. A communications and web strategist by trade, he is employed by Friends United Meeting - an international Quaker denominational body. He is a proud resident of Washington, D.C.'s Ward 7.

Photo: Renata Sedmakova/Shutterstock

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