At present I cannot ascertain where the following analogy entered my collection of such. I’ll continue to look for the source. I’ve come to believe that this principle, this reality is the root of all genuine faith. If we are in Christ and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ then nothing, no nothing must separate us from each other. Christ trumps everything.
“An analogy can be helpful here: Imagine a woman, whom we shall call Betsy, who has a heart the size of the Grand Canyon. She is gracious, loving, devoid of prejudice, and with an understanding and empathy wide enough to encompass everything and everybody. Because she is so loving, she has a very wide variety of friends and one night she decides to have a party and invite them all. She rents a hall to hold everyone. And her guests begin to arrive. Men, women, and children show up, of every description, ideology, background, temperament, taste, social standing, and religion. A curious mixture of persons fills the hall. Liberal and conservative, fundamentalists and feminists, Promise Keepers and New Agers, priests and anti-clerics, union presidents and bankers, animal rights activists and persons involved in the seal hunt, meat-eaters and militant vegetarians mingles with each other. Present is president of the local pro-life association, but the president of pro-choice is also there. Ian Paisley is there, as is the leader of the Irish Republican Army. Alt-right and Al-left are there keeping one eye Betsey and one on each other.
Given the mix, there is a fair amount of tension, but because Betsy is there, because she is the center of the room, and because they respect who she is and what she stands for and is enough engulfed in a certain spirit of tolerance, respect, decency, and charity to stretch them beyond how they would normally feel, think, and act.
As you can imagine, such a gathering would work only while Betsy was actually present. Should she have to excuse herself and leave, or should persons get preoccupied in ways that would make them forget the real reason why they were there, you would soon enough get a combination of fireworks and dissipation that would empty the room. This particular mix of persons can be brought together and kept together only around one person, Betsy. Everything depends upon her presence and upon those present having her wide empathy whole they are in that presence, that is, upon being in her spirit.” [Pp. 119-120]
Of course the point is that the apostolic community is built around the person of Jesus, the Christ, and nothing else. Outside of a focus on his person and happens in us and between us when we sense his presence, we get into terrible conflict and play sick and destructive games.
To be church is to celebrate the word of Christ and the Eucharist. This is more than just going to church on Sunday. To build our life around Jesus means that there has to be real sharing of life together, namely that we pray together; that we celebrate some of our everyday joys, fears, and feasts together; that we are responsible to each other and open to each other as regards mutual correction and challenge; that we are responsible together for the ministry of the church; that we have some common sharing of finances (even if this means only that we contribute to the support of the local congregation and its work.)