Several weeks ago, Fr. Richard Rohr did a series of devotions describing what it means to live in community. “Living in community means living in such a way that others can access me and influence my life and that I can get ‘out of myself’ and serve the lives of others,” he said. Community is a world where brotherliness and sisterliness are possible. By community, I don’t mean primarily a special kind of structure, but a network of relationships.”
I experienced this kind of community last week at our Vacation Bible School. Parishioners, young and not so young, came together to provide an adventure for our youngest members, but oftentimes got wrapped up in the adventure themselves and ended up wondering who was the teacher and who was the student. It began with the staff who worked diligently to see to enrollments, inform parents of their and their child’s responsibilities, and helped decorate our building so it would ignite the imagination of the children and enhance their experience during their week with us. It continued with the young parishioners who generously donated time to guide the children who enrolled and showed loving kindness to each child to ensure everyone had a joy-filled week. It continued with the thoughtful teachers who prepared lessons each day, the energetic individuals who volunteered to help with crafts and make sure each child had a snack, and with the joy that could be heard emanating from the music room as the kids sang and danced.
There was a “spirit” to this community that was palpable. We were all here to learn about our brother Jesus and though lessons were taught, the most important lessons were learned from one another as everyone unselfishly sacrificed for the others and celebrated each others’ accomplishments. It was a living celebration of our faith. When the children sang about “God’s love being deep and wide” and “God’s love is overflowing,” it churned up the Spirit inside.
This VBS week reminded me once again that we learn about Christ best through relationships. It made me grateful to live and worship with the wonderful people that make us this St. Thomas More Community. To once again quote Richard Rohr, “We come to know who God is through exchanges of mutual knowing and loving. God’s basic method of communicating God’s self is not the ‘saved’ individual, the rightly informed believer, or even a person with a career in ministry, but the journey and bonding process that God initiates in community; in marriages, families, tribes, nations, schools, organizations, and churches who are seeking to participate in God’s love, maybe without even consciously knowing it.”
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator