What does it mean to be “Community”..?
Adam and Eve were the crowning point of the Creation – the first little community the world had ever seen. Together they could cultivate the joy and power of unity and partnership and stand against the pain of isolation and solitude.
Now some 7.4 billion people later, surely loneliness is inconceivable… I mean, people are everywhere right!?
The terrible truth of course is that perhaps today more than ever before, loneliness is rampant all around us. We’ve added years to life, but not life to years. We might have been all the way to the moon and back but have real anxiety about crossing the road to meet a new neighbour. We own more computers, smart tv’s, phones and tablets, linking us globally to millions of people, but in truth communicate less and less and less.
The truth is, in our busy, often self-centred world, it’s all too easy to get so wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t take the time to really get to know others. And that doesn’t just affect us, but manifestly all those around us who also were designed by God for relationship.
Last month, having identified a phrase from our parish website which helps define a little of who we are as church – “finding family, creating community” – I reflected a little on what it means to be family.
God designed us to yearn for, and thrive in, relationship with others. The truth is we function at our best when we live through life’s highs and lows with other people. Everyone, whether young or old, introvert or extravert, single or married, needs community.
Of course, church doesn’t have a monopoly on community, and tragically, at times, it became a closed, unwelcoming and inhospitable institution. I’m really sorry for this – that was never God’s plan. The church as translated from the word, “ecclesia”, which appears in the New Testament over 100 times, really means the faithful body of believers. It’s not about religion, buildings or institution – it was always supposed to be about people. People joined together by love, faith and fellowship. People living not just for themselves but for one another and all those around them.
For us as St Matt’s and St Thomas à Becket, we are passionate about not simply ‘doing’ church but rather ‘being’ church by embracing, forming and creating true community. And as community, we recognise the massive value and importance of the community we are part of. Widcombe and the city of Bath is engraved in our hearts and we long to play our part in enhancing and engaging with the community at large with all its diversity and breadth.
Psalm 133:1 (NIV) tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity”! Community then is fun, fosters love and is a place that draws God’s blessing. May we truly become all that God intended – a glorious community of believers living to love, serve, welcome and bless.
Have a great June! Love Tim, Sarah, Ellie, Sam and Jo x