“Community” has been at the forefront of my consciousness lately. Whether it’s recovering from the recent layoffs at my office or attracting new people to our church. Community can be defined and experienced in many ways.
Rev. Michael Beckwith has his definition of community – communicate in unity. That can be talking things out, no matter how difficult the subject, or working together on a special project. Community is spending time at a business gathering or church service, just getting to know the people who are there and letting them get to know you. Isn’t that why we come together? To support each other for as long as we can?
Some of our members have been part of the PCCRS church community for a long time; others have joined in just the last year or two. What keeps us coming together?
I used to think it was the minister and his/her style of delivering the Sunday message, and for some that may be the draw initially. Or maybe it was the music that filled the cracks of consciousness and made the Sunday experience one of rich harmony. Perhaps it’s the opportunity to serve and overcome challenges. But ministers come and go, presentation styles vary, problems get resolved, and even musicians move on to greater compositions.
The folks that are dedicated to a particular community don’t really come for those reasons. They’re here for each other. The minister, the message, the music, the challenges, even the treats and coffee…those are all just details. These can be important details because that’s what we’ve become accustomed to. But it doesn’t take much of a change or a shake-up to find out what’s really important in a community – it’s the people.
When a company lets go of several employees at the same time, those still holding jobs also hold onto each other and cherish the time they had with the ones saying ‘good-bye.’ When people come and go from a congregation, we miss them, welcome them back when they visit, and release them again, holding them in friendship inside our cherished memories. It doesn’t take a deep meditation practice to recognize the cycles of life apply to the coming and going in a community, too.
Community is what brings us back to the church in which we’ve grown as spiritual individuals. Community is an intangible, unseen bond that helps us recognize who we are within certain human circles. Community is what causes us to wear name badges that identify us with a particular group. Community is where we find love and support when life seems unusually challenging. Community helps us find strength to get up, dust ourselves off, and even laugh at our mistakes and trials as we move forward with greater awareness in a new and better direction. Community is our family of choice.
We don’t always have a say as to who will be part of our family, our community. All we can do is love the ones who are here.