Committing to Community – Reflection for 30 SEP 2018
A few weeks ago at our annual meeting, I set out three goals for our growth as individuals and as a parish, commitment to the Gospel, commitment to prayer, and commitment to community. This week, we will explore our commitment to community.
Our commitment to community begins within our parish community. In any group of people there will inevitably be disagreements, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. Being committed to community means being committed to reconciliation with one another when these things occur. True reconciliation begins when both parties recognize their own part in the disruption of relationship and the pain they have caused the other person. Making excuses for our own or another’s hurtful behavior prevents reconciliation. Discounting our own hurt or the hurt another has experienced prevents reconciliation. Reconciliation continues as we seek forgiveness from one another fully aware of the pain we have caused. Reconciliation is complete when we determine that the relationship is more important than our own pain or pride. I pray that as we experience the inevitable tensions, misunderstandings, disagreements, and hurts of that come with being a member of any group that we will grow such that Christ’s love in us and our love for one another is stronger than anything that might come between us.
Our commitment to community extends beyond our parish to our archdeaconry, our diocese, and other churches in our community. This commitment to community places into action the belief we profess each week in the catholicity or oneness of the Church as the body of Christ. The same love that joins our parish together also joins us in communion rather than competition with other parishes and churches.
Our commitment to community extends even beyond the church to our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and other places we encounter people. Just as Jesus radically expanded the definition of ‘neighbor,’ we also radically expand community to include all of our ‘neighbors.’ In this way, we commit to seeing all people through the lens of Christ’s love, refusing to divide the world into “us” and “them” and resisting the temptation to dehumanize anyone as “other.”
Will you join me in these commitments to the Gospel, to prayer, and to community?