Working Toward Community

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 One of the joys of this past week was that we were able to host many different friends in our home. We cleaned our home, making sure it was a welcoming space. We made some homemade butter, baked bread, and made ice cream. We prepared meals from our CSA and farmer’s market produce, eggs, and meat.  We even harvested some of the vegetables and herbs from our own garden.

It was a wonderful and exhausting week. Many glasses of wine were poured, stories shared, dreams explored. We spent many good hours with those we love.

But I think it’s important to acknowledge that community doesn’t usually just happen. It’s cultivated, like a garden. It must be tended. Part of tending to community is putting in the effort to make it happen.

I’ve written before about how much we enjoy seeing the fruits of the work of our hands and how work can actually be an important spiritual discipline. I think these are important to keep in mind when cultivating community. It’s easy to get caught up in the not-so-fun aspects of community (i.e., how much work it is!). But the truth is, it’s sacred work, and it is necessary. And often the work can actually be shared…and (gasp!) sometimes even fun.

These are two things that I think we need to be more willing to do in our churches: make conscious efforts at cultivating community (beyond the 5 minutes over donuts after Mass), and engaging in the work that is necessary to keep it up.

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