There are a number of clichés that describe the value of “community”, one of which is “united we stand, divided we fall.” Although true, it is so overused that the power of the statement has been lost, or at best the meaning of its message has been fractured into multiple pieces.
Nonetheless, a life lived in a thriving, healthy, community is an empowered life! Divided, alone, and isolated we actually do fall. Throughout the Gospels, the foundation of Jesus’ teaching is “community”. This was so significant to the followers of “The Way” (later known as Christians) they developed a complex system of communal living (see Acts 4:32 ff.). Although the communal lifestyle did not last (for reasons unknown to us), the need for community remains foundational.
Living in community means there is a time when I realize “the world doesn’t revolve around me”. Richard Rohr in his book, “A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations” writes,
“Our life is not our own, yet, at some level, enlightened people know that their life has been given to them as a sacred trust. They live in gratitude and confidence, and they try to let the flow continue through them. They know that ‘love is repaid by love alone,’ as both St. Francis of Assisi and St Therese of Lisieux have said.” (p.134)
Thus, the “flow continues”, it begins as individuals – always flowing into “community”. “Love is repaid by love!” Therein lies the power of community, whether it is the local church, the neighborhood in which we live, the school we attend, or the world we are a part of; with gratitude and confidence we love as we have been loved! I look forward to seeing you in Church as we are empowered and empower others through our community known as Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church!