Monday, January 28, 2013

Faith in Community

Woman Who Builds Community
I follow a blog by Nadia Bolz Weber, a Lutheran pastor of an interesting faith community in Colorado, and sometimes her sermons just leave me thinking, "Wow!"  This one really made sense to me and I encourage my readers to go listen to it, or read it as she offers it.  Basically she addresses how faith is a spiritual gift - one of many many and that we don't all have it, nor do we need to all have it.  That's the benefit of community - we share our various gifts.

I know so many people who don't go to church or temple any more - they don't think they belong because their "faith" isn't strong enough.  Some aren't interested - and that's ok.  But some I've talked to feel that as pain,  they miss a congregation.

I know others who say - "I don't need to go to church.  I can talk to God anywhere, I find him most in the woods, in nature, etc. "  All true - we can find God all over the places, sometimes in the most unexpected places.

But for many of us, who have some belief, it's the community that we long for, just because it is where we find support and encouragement for the times we lose it.

One of my stories is that many years ago when I first started attending church after a long absence, I was going through particularly difficult times.  I remember being in the pew, asking for help at the time that the congregation was offering a communal prayer.  I tried to join in but my voice caught in my throat and I couldn't.  I started crying silently.  There was a family sitting behind me and the man had a very deep voice.  What I noticed was the vibration of his prayer in my chest.  I had an overwhelming sensation that it was ok that I couldn't say what I wanted to, that someone else was doing it for me.  It was one of a number of small instances, easily explained away as "wishful thinking" or some other justification to dismiss a holy moment.

Not everyone needs church or faith.  There are many other ways to be in community.  What is important is to figure out what we do need for our own nourishment and growth, and then to make those connections happen.

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