The word community is quite powerful! In these days, where we have had to say the word cancelled, abandoning in-person gatherings, we have focused on the word connected. As we talk about the community of faith in the absence of gatherings, we are reminded of its deep value! We carry the connections of the community of faith with us during this time we are apart.
As we value the community of faith even more, looking forward to the time when we are able to gather again, we are cultivating ways to stay connected. We are thankful to many church members, who have assisted with technology and streaming, or setting up connections between church members for delivering groceries. It is the community of faith at its best!
It reminds us of the cornerstone of the community of faith, which is solidarity. Solidarity benefits from proximity, but it is not required for it. We continue to be bound to one another by our prayers, God’s grace, and the practical grace of phone calls, written notes, and online connections.
During this time of distance, we remember the importance of cultivating a quiet soul, our inward spirituality; while also engaging the wider world around us. In the midst of constant change, it is more difficult to cultivate a quiet place in our lives, where we can listen for God’s presence. Walking, reading, and silence can help us calm our thoughts and open our hearts.
As we nurture the roots of our faith, we must also remain engaged with the wider world, which is also difficult when we are so focused on the constant changes right in front of us. If we remain open to it, though, we might stumble upon ways we can cast God’s grace into the world. Our prayers, written notes, or online connections can allow us to speak a word of grace or offer a gesture of kindness, letting light push against darkness.
In our isolation, let us realize how connected we are. The hopes and struggles of this world affect us all. We are all like branches on a vine. We might be isolated, but we are never alone. We are connected by something more, as Jesus says in the gospel of John, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” We abide in God’s presence, knowing that even if we cannot gather in person, we are never separated from one another, or from God.