“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”- Ephesians 4:2-6 (NIV)
I love the Andy Griffith Show! The characters were well-written and well-acted. The humor was solid and wholesome. I would enjoy watching Andy and Barney interacting with each other in order to keep the citizens of Mayberry safe and would always end up with laughter and a life lesson. Of course, we can’t forget the catchy whistle tune in the opening credits with Andy and his son Opie walking down to the fishing hole (it’s in your head now…you’re welcome).
There was something that got me caught up in the show more than the characters…the town!
The town was peaceful, unless some outsider came in trying to make trouble, but overall it was a quaint community. Everybody knew each other and would watch out for their neighbor. It was a community that cared about community!
They all recognized the need for connection and being with each other. They rallied around issues together. They recognized needs and would respond. They celebrated with each other.
Yes, there was tension, like when Barney and Andy were interested in the same girl and when Opie got into a fight with some kid because he said something about his “PA!” (Mayberry for “Dad”). However, Andy would always turn these experiences into a lesson and all who were involved would listen.
Imagine life like Mayberry. What would it be like? There would be a community that truly loved each other. The community would bake a pie, just because, and bring it by to their neighbor. Yes, you would have humanity creeping in on occasion with some gossip, but authority would step in and people would listen.
Imagine if the Church (capital C) embraced a “Mayberry-ish” attitude. It would be the Church that would celebrate another person’s achievements and joys instead of mocking or judging. This would be the Church that truly embraced the teaching of their pastor/leader and sought out the advice and guidance of their elders. This could be the Church that truly grasps a concept of “Community”, living with each other beyond a Sunday and walking in life together.
Life may not be Mayberry and unfortunately, neither is church, but we could strive to be!
If we are intentional about relationships and caring for our neighbors the way Christ commanded, then we could see Mayberry form.
We will never be perfect in relationships. We will never be perfect at being good neighbors. Nevertheless, we can aim to work on it together.
May we strive to love each other more. May we strive to care about our neighbors beyond a casual “hello”. May we be willing to walk into life with others and truly live in community.
Mayberry may not be attainable, after all it’s a fictional town, but their experience can be a reality if we are willing to work at it.
QUESTION: What do you do to live in intentional community?