Out of the Darkness and Into Community
(Posted August 13, 2020)
"We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community." --- Dorothy Day, 20th century
This Sunday I’m back “in the pulpit,” after having spent the last portion of my vacation, like most of you, in the dark. Now the area we live in with the New York utility company that serves us is notorious for giving us at least two brief power failures per week. And this is when the sun is shining. So you can imagine what the introduction of a real storm did to their ability to deliver last week.
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In the Darkness
The truth is that we modern humans have a real need to be able to trust some things in our lives as dependable. Some of the basic things that we want to trust is electricity, water, food and shelter. Some of the human things we need to be able to trust are having people in our lives who we feel genuinely care for us and our well-being, and who are a source of human touch, of human affection. This past week, and in fact all this year, the trust in these things has been ruptured; our ability to reach out to the people we’d like to hug has been curtailed by pandemic, and we find ourselves questioning some of the people in leadership who should be working in our best interest. We are charged with caring for precious children, and sometimes feel that we are on that journey all alone.
And what does this lead to? Frustration. Anger at the unfairness and apparent lack of concern that is impacting our lives so much. And what good CAN come out of this? Discovering that in dark times, people can reach beyond the parameters of their own lives and come together In Community.
Community doesn’t have to be something well-planned out or over-scheduled. It can respond to need. Community is the extension cord that runs from one house with a generator to the house next door that was previously dark. Community is shared bottles of water, garages set up for anyone that needs them, not only with water but with charging stations where neighbors can revive their only means of communication. Community knocks on the door of an elderly couple and offers to shop for them. Community “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” For you see, Community is really love incarnate.
Where We Find God at Work
My colleague, Reverend Barbara Brown Taylor, noted in her book Learning to Walk in the Dark, the darkness is often where we find God at work. This Sunday we will be taking a look at what happens when the person who is frustrated is, himself, God incarnate. How did Jesus handle his frustrations with us and his all-too-human nature? Join us to consider aspects of Jesus that we may never have considered. – Pastor Pat Kriss