A Way of Life
“He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms…” Isaiah 40:11
It is precisely in communion with God through prayer that we discover the call to community. It is remarkable that solitude always calls us to community. In solitude, we realize we are part of a human family and that we want to live something together.
By community, I don’t mean formal communities. I mean families, friends, parishes, Twelve-Step programs, prayer groups. Community is not an organization, community is a way of living. We gather around us people with whom we want to proclaim the truth that we are the beloved sons and daughters of God.
Community is not easy. Parker Palmer once observed that community is the “place where the person you least want to live with always lives.” In Jesus’ community of twelve disciples, the last name was that of someone who was going to betray him. That person is always in our community somewhere. In the eyes of others, we might be that person…
Community is not loneliness grabbing onto loneliness: “I’m so lonely; you’re so lonely. Please stay awhile!” Grabbing too easily becomes grasping, and grasping may quickly turn into suffocating closeness. No, community is solitude greeting solitude: “I am the beloved; you are the beloved. Together we can build a home.” Sometimes we are close to each other, and that’s wonderful. Sometimes we don’t feel much love, and that’s hard. But we can be faithful. We can build a home together and create space for God and for the children of God.
Heavenly Father, show me how to build a place for you in my heart.