Recently, I have heard folks both within my congregation and out in the wider UU world make statements that can be summarized as, "The reason why we meet as a church is NOT for community."
The community is great, they will hasten to add, but the raison d'etre is for spirituality, worshipping God, becoming more in relationship with the divine.
For me, All Of This has given me a deeper, more profound appreciation for community.
During all of the ups and downs of dealing with our daughter's cancer, The Husband and I have agreed that what we have not felt is "alone."
We have further agreed that that had absolutely nothing to do with God. I'm glad that God helps others feel not alone, but the conventional definition of God has not been what sustained us.
You remember that old chestnut about Footprints in the Sand, right?
I like it when I was a kid, but when I got older, it began to grate on me. When I have gone through tough times before, it has made me feel stronger about myself that I could say, "I made it through that. On my own two feet." I was not carried.
Now, if like the story of looking back at the beach, I looked back on this period of my life, I know what I would see:
At least 50 sets of footprints with mine.
My community is like ever expanding circles. First and foremost, I have my husband; he is my best friend and my b'shert. Then, my family, who have flown down to be with us, stayed with our children, sent money for a maid. Then, my "posse," my tight circle of girlfriends. Then, my church community, who have brought casseroles, sent cards, even sent diapers. Then, my blogger friends, who have read my feeble writings, left comments, prayed for us.
Make that 100 sets of footprints.
Community ... ah, beloved community. Call that "God."