Counter-Cultural in a Non-Christian
By Ellen Gryniewicz
We started out as students, barefooted and beaded,
but when we started to build community, we needed more than that.
We found what was needed in tradition, the traditions of the Jewish and
Christian people of God. The Lordís Day entered our life fairly early,
and became a mainstay in anchoring family and household life in stable
patterns. Community daily prayers, often done as evening prayers,
also helped. Celebrating the seasons of the Christian year further enriched
us, and sometimes set us apart. Try celebrating Advent, not Christmas,
in the weeks leading up to that feast, and you will experience going against
the stream of our culture.
A less ceremonial , but essential, custom which
has woven together the lives of Godís people whenever they have experienced
being His people, is mutual care. We met together for support in
small groups, provided meals when babies were born, helped one another
move (endlessly, it seemed), and baked cakes for many, many weddings
-- sometimes two or even three a weekend. And we prayed with each
other and for each other and over each other. And we sang an ever-increasing
repertoire of songs, many of our own composing. All of these things
had been done by others before us, and had worked for them. They
worked for us also. We became a people, a people who were noticeably
different, set apart to be dedicated to serving our God. And this
identity made us able to resist, at least in part, the powerful influences
trying to pull us away from Jesus and the way of life He calls us to live.
Forming a culture as a People of God helped us to counter the non-Christian
culture we live in.