Sunday, July 02, 2006

Footprints In the Sand

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."


LaReinaCobre said...

I think there are various reasons why people talk about the church not existing as community but as a place of worship. I suspect a lot of them are offering a vision more than the reality.

And UUs shouldn't feel guilty about seeing church as a huge part of community; it serves the same function for many people in other faiths. The worshipping is secondary for many to feeling part of something larger than just themselves.

But I think we have a little bit of fear, we UUs - that if we are only a "community" than we could be easily replaced with the Sierra Club or the local hiking group. But why can't we be multiple things?

Jamie Goodwin said...

exactly what Hafidha said, why can we not be a community and a place of faith and worship.

Braidwood said...

What could be more sacred? The UU church is the small town in the big town I live in right now. (I totally relate to all the circles you mentioned in your post.) That is exaclty what it is for me.

I feel that people who get defensive about UUism being a religion are missing the point. Why try and seem like other churches when what we have is so good and fulfills a real need for other people?

Kelli said...

Darn good post LE...

Jonathan said...

I couldnt agree more. Well said.