As I reflect on this past week, I am struck with the simple truth that life is truly best lived in community. We are more than who we can ever be on our own when we dare to share what matters most.
Over the past week members of our extended community have said goodbye to a beautiful man who lived a long life dedicated to family and community and left this world with as much grace as when he lived among us, rest in peace John C. Ballmer, Sr. And then the very next morning at 8:30am the world welcomed a new child of God, Bowen Elizabeth Barwig, and in that moment turned our Trinity member Fritz Hany and his wife Susan into grandparents. And while John and Bowen may never meet in this world, I love the idea that our tradition encourages us to expand our otherwise limited sense of time and space and instead hold the memory of one life and the newness of another as a delicate balance of interconnectedness.
I was also reminded of the gift of community this week when our first Wednesday evening conversation about Marcus Borg’s book, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time convened. Twenty beautiful faces filled our now all too familiar zoom-room screen to spend time sharing our stories and talking about the Bible. There is so much we must talk about on this topic, and I am so very grateful we are doing it together.
Other reminders of the import of living in community came into focus as I planned visits with two families preparing for baptisms in November. It is such an honor and privilege for Trinity to open its doors, welcome home those who are searching for a glimmer of all-inclusive love and radical welcome and offer the ancient sacrament of baptism. This is something we do together as an extension of God’s love and of those who have come before us.
So even amidst a difficult week when there is no shortage of tragic news including yet another school shooting, continued partisan politics, on-going threats to women’s rights, challenges globally in Haiti, Afghanistan, Mexico and China, there is still power and hope through the gift of living in community. We make our way in the world by walking together. We learn more, we see more, we feel more and we grow more and transform beyond what we could ever do or be on our own.
Thank you for being and becoming a beautiful tapestry; a community radiating a powerful sense of purpose and presence in the world. I end today with words from inspiring spiritual leader, Benedictine Nun and prolific author Joan Chittister. May they remind us all to stay close one to another…
What we learn from the other we learn about ourselves. The honor with which we regard the other unmasks our own theology of creation. The way we react to the needs of the other tells us something about our own needs. The attention we give to another exposes our real sense of the breadth and depth of the universe and stretches it beyond ourselves. We depend on others for the kind of wisdom that exceeds mere answers. We hold on to others to find the kind of love that makes life rich with meaning, certain proof of the everlasting love of a Creator for whom there is no word. We must every day take others into the narrow little confines of our lives and listen to their call to us to be about something greater than ourselves.
May you never forget that you are loved,