The weather is sunny, and I’ve found my typing fingers. I know I should be out of doors enjoying the last of the rays for a bit, as clouds are rolling in even now, but I know the sun will return: it *has* to.
I’ve been out and about in my neighborhood, taking walks, checking out the spring flowers, noticing which houses have sold and which one are on the market. People are talking to each other, having barbeques, playing at the park. I love the noises of hearing kids squeal as they slide down the corkscrew slides or get pushed just That Much Higher on the swings. People are talking; people are communing.
My Bible study has switched topics as of last week. We had been working through certain materials since our start in the fall, taking two weeks for each lesson to really get into the ideas presented. Our groups was fairly large, and a number of folks were attending specifically because of the material we were using (they really enjoyed the author/presenter). Now the attendence has changed. True, the cold season is still upon us; work picks up; peoples’ schedules get busy. But I also know that people aren’t present due to the topical change. And it bothers me.
When I was in college, I had a roommate who was event-oriented. A new movie was coming out, one that all the roommates wanted to see. But something came up, and we had to postpone. Except she still went: found other people to go with. This hurt my feelings, silly as it sounds, and as obstinate as I am, I didn’t even want to see the movie when the opportunity arose: she already saw it and therefore ruined it. Finally I realized why I was so cranky: I’m *community*-oriented. Many times I could care less about *what* we’re doing as long as we’re doing it *together*. She’s not wired that way. Realizing this, naming this, gave me freedom to be me and for her to be her, for my feelings not to be hurt, but to recognize that our expectations were different. And this is something I have to remind myself of in situations like my bible study.
In Sunday School we had a new speaker (tis the season for change, apparently: get out your white pants, your outdoor eating gear, and your new speakers) who is speaking for four weeks on the idea of Community and Spirituality: that we often take an individualistic approach to spirituality, not a communal one. Jesus is our personal savior. I need to take care of my sins for my sake. I attend which church I want to because it relates best to my needs. He mentioned the idea of the parish church where one attended a church, or rather was *assigned*, due to location. And you duked out all the joys and the muck that comes with community rather than leaving when things got uncomfortable or “didn’t relate.”
I’ve heard people speak on the topic at hand at Bible Study; I’ve heard it a number of times. I’m still attending with the hopes that I’ll take away something new from this person’s individual experience in this area, but more so that I can come alongside others who haven’t heard these things, that are struggling, that need people to walk alongside them and strengthen and equip them in these areas. This is my community, and as much as I complain about different things, I really don’t want to leave just because the topic doesn’t “totally” relate or connect with me: I want to help, to be present, to commune because if/when the roles are reversed, I would want the same from them. If others are called to leave, I want to have a heart that speaks peace and freedom to them as well. Wherever we are called to be, I pray that we will simply be fully present.