Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, November 10, 2017

walking each other home

We are all just walking each other home
                             Ram Dass

we are in this together
the words echo loosely in the air
spoken by many

we are in this together
we must all get there, together
no one left behind

these words are echoed too in other words
love your neighbor

echoing back is the word, community

St. Benedict was big on community
being  very clear that our spiritual life was to be lived out in community

there is no option to flee to the desert or hole up somewhere.
for we are in this together

community is not easy
ask anyone who lives in a small town
or anyone who belongs to a church, synagogue, mosque, or any faith group

if the group is doing anything of importance at all
whether it be worship or service
disagreements are bound to happen,
other people will annoy you
and you will annoy other people.

and in those moments we so want to run
to either hid, or find that perfect place
where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,"

and it is easy

but community is not easy
and the path we walk together is neither straight nor smooth
and growth when it happens
comes when we stay in community

stumbling together down that road
the purposeful and the hesitant
the hopeful and the despairing
the strong and the fragile

when we blunder along
bickering and struggling
doing what we always do in community
giving and taking
hurting and healing
doing the deep work of forgiving and reconciling

this is not about piety
this is about love
not loving our neighbors in the abstract
but loving them when they hurt us deeply
and disagree with us about things important and profound

I say it again
It is difficult to love our neighbor
In fact, the command to love our enemies is often easier.
We tend to push enemies away and keep them out of our lives.
It’s easy to love in the abstract, at arm’s length.
It is much harder to love up close where things get messy:
loving our next-door neighbor, whose dog barks incessantly and who won’t do anything about it;
or members of our congregation who don’t see things our way
or just bug us;
or the pastor who is just “wrong”

Well, it’s hard, isn’t it?

But this is community
and this is where we must be people of love
for it is in our neighborhoods, our little towns, our communities of faith
that we learn what it means to be Sacred Children

We need to choose community
We can have faith in isolation, but we will find growth and development in that faith
In community, in a congregation
We can love in the abstract, but it will not truly be loved, until it is lived out
daily, with those whom we cannot avoid

the loss of community
the disintegration of neighborhoods and churches
as we run and hide behind our computers
and walk down the path of life with our faces in our smartphones

is a loss indeed

for we are in this world,

to walk each other home.

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