Joseph Avakian

… is the gathering of many individuals, right? Well not really. The Word community comes from communion … right? No! Its source originates from the Latin for communis. What really makes a community is not numbers or common dwelling (even though that helps!) What makes a community is their common ownership. No this is not about communism, socialism nor capitalism! It’s a call to live a life to own what is God’s and what is ours!

I had the privilege of growing up in a culture that lived common ownership and in part still am a part of that community. No I am not talking about YWAM but rather my Armenian “sinsile” (Turkish for Chain or the group you belong to! – thus my title). The death of my great aunt in Canada triggered this deepening of what is a community. Many of my uncles and Aunts … and I had many, always treated us a part of their family. This was so normal for me that my many of uncles & aunts would always educate us, correct us, challenge us and praise us.

One of the reasons why the Armenian culture has so survived over the last 1700 years as a people is the bond of common ownership to heir Faith and thus people group. I guess the root of this comes from the Judeo-Christian belief that is based on God calling a people to Himself. Many Cultures are community cultures, but then patriarchism and dictatorships often arise when those called to lead the community decide to make it theirs and not give room to ownership.

My memories of my childhood (even though part of it in War) were still one where my extended family always treated me as one of their own. To be fed, to be clothed and to be corrected and challenged, loved and praised was something normal. Today in many ways every past, present and future generation will try or should I say naturally create a community, one usually of common something! What should that something be? Should it be values? Should it be vision? Mission? Goals? Place? Lifestyle? The list can get long? Could it be that the key at the end is common ownership?

Ownership is something we are very careful about. Trust is key in this; do we let the other really own what is ours? What is the model we are to follow? Is there one that we can truly see as a working model? Ownership for all has led to communism and that is not what I am talking about. That has failed! The battles to overcome are not ones of structure and of material ownership, but one of the heart.

Our Hearts tend to be more on the greedy side and so do not trust! So when new situations arise where we have no direct control over, we loose the ownership, or literally give it away or pull it to back ourselves. Are we willing to embrace the great, good, Bbad and the ugly in our communities? Whether you lead or are lead in a community setting, this battle is for everyone to overcome. God has modeled a community that shares that gives inheritance, not based on work but on grace. I don’t think I need to go on explaining that God is the One that has called us to ownership … He started off by putting us in a garden and says all this is yours … and it will end by us in a city that also is called ours!

Our life’s calling is one to grow into ownership of creation because of the personal intimate relationship we are called to in God. As we are celebrating Easter, we are remembering the act of the only God that took ownership for the sins of all that exists past, present and future and paid the price for it dearly. This kind of ownership has to do with selfless giving thus birthing eternal life. You and I can partake in this but do we want it? Or is it not fair? Or too much? We were created to live and be in community, our very DNA is one that seeks relationship, and that will not bypass the question of ownership!

As we are called into becoming Children and so Heirs … will we rise to make all that is available in our lives an instrument of invitation to owning this lifes battles, and inherit eternal life? If so, We are a part of a community in the making!

Happy Easter!


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