Saturday, March 11, 2006

Going my way?

The center of my little river town was flooded last spring. My house was mostly spared, though muddy water inundated our yard and filled the paved crawl space under our house, and even that much turned out to be an ordeal.

The priest from the Episcopal church I had been attending for a mere two months at that point called to ask if I needed any help. Which I didn't, but it was wonderful to be asked. Naturally I heard nothing from my (only recently former) Catholic parish; another example of its consistent failure to find ways--in the face of large congregations and reduced clerical ranks--to make church communities function on a human scale.

(Then, of course, there was the elderly woman down the street who thanked us for stopping by to ask if she needed anything, but mentioned that she'd been trying for hours to take a shower and couldn't get to it because she had to keep stopping to visit with people who came to offer help. Sometimes a little community goes a long way.)

I've been thinking a lot lately about spiritual community. I want to worship with familiar faces, but they need not be my best friends in everyday life. I want to feel that I belong somewhere, but I don't really know what that means. I certainly don't want to be tied too firmly to one place, or one perspective. Mostly I want to feel encouraged and supported by others who are going down the same road; there's strength in numbers, and comfort in feeling we are all going down that road together.

And the thing I am slowly, slowly realizing, is that this doesn't have to happen in just one place, and maybe it's even better if it doesn't.


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