Spiritual journey: Community

When I think of community
two words come to mind:
commune
and
unity.

To commune
implies awareness
listening
appreciating
expressing
from a wellspring
in one’s soul.
Sometimes with words
sometimes with actions
sometimes in just being
and being
deeply connected.

Unity implies a connection
so profound
that many become one
a whole made strong
because of its parts
because of the desire
to be together
seeking the good
of all.
Unity wears the cloak
of altruism
and walks with
amazing grace.

That brings
another word
to mind…
communion.

In the end
community is
infinitely more
than proximity.
It’s a true work
of heart.

*******

1 Corinthians 1:10, various translations:

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. —ESV

I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. —The Message

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.—NIV

with thanks to Maureen Ingram for offering the prompt of “community” for our Spiritual Journey Thursday community of writers



19 thoughts on “Spiritual journey: Community

  1. I love this thought “Unity wears the cloak
    of altruism”. As we become part of a community, we must put on this cloak. We find different ways to reach out to one another because each one matters. Thanks for inspiring me to try a new perspective about the meaning of community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We do need to put on the cloak… I was reading recently that altruism is true self-sacrifice, not expecting anything in return. That’s contrary to human nature and the nature of most living things. But people of faith should understand this on a fundamentally different level…thank you for these words, Margaret. Know that you are a treasure to me and that I think of you often in these days following your loss ❤

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  2. I absolutely love how your poem ‘breaks apart’ the word community and then melds it back together into one beautiful tribute and understanding to the concept. I am also drawn to the intersection of “To commune/implies awareness” with unity’s lines “a whole made strong/because of its parts” – if we can keep aware of the whole, our community thrives. Love this, Fran!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the invitation to write to “community” for SJT, Maureen. It’s been intriguing to see where everyone went with it. I so appreciate your words here – community is meant to be a beautiful thing!

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  3. The joint metaphor of cloak and walking most certainly reaches me. The connection of community with communion is, of course, etymologically sound, but it appropriately reminds us of how far apart these two words seem ironically to have drifted. You have a keen skill for pulling things back together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cloak is, for some reason, an image that returns to me often. In my mind, I see a figure wearing it for different reasons – sometimes as a disguise, sometimes as deliberately choosing to exemplify or embody a quality like altrusim, here enabling Unity to walk with amazing grace. Thank you for your thoughts , Paul – you are gifted with keen perception!

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  4. Fran, it is so enlightening to read your poem its various movements from commune and unity right down to communion. I especially love Unity wears the cloak/of altruism/and walks with/amazing grace. There is a sense of awe in that section of your poem that capitalizes on personification. The Lord has brought our group of spiritual writers together to write with feeling, emotion, and the spirit of the Dove leading us onward. Peace to you, Fran.

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  5. As I pondered community, I also thought about commune and the words of a hymn I love, “Oh may my soul commune with thee and find thy holy peace.” Maybe it’s the peace of the Lord that gives us the power to reach out to build community wherever we find ourselves.
    Love your poem! It’s good to be here in community with friends. Community can exist without proximity

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those old poetic hymns are poetically and theologically rich, Ramona! Love that you picked up the thread of peace. I agree that community can exist without proximity; hearts across a far distance remain knit together. Thank you for your thoughts AND your heart!

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  6. I have copied your words on unity into my notebook. The word is in my school’s name intentionally as it was renamed recently. I love your thoughts on unity…I’m nodding amen and amen. Also, I appreciate the invitation, the sacred invitation, to get along with each other. It’s been tough these past few years. But, I try to continue that work. Your words, this post, help me in that. Thank you so much.

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    • How lovely that ‘unity’ is in your school’s new name, Linda. My husband once used an illustration in a sermon about unity vs. union: A person could tie two cats together by their tails and drape them over a clothesline – there would be a union but most certainly NOT unity. Community is meant to be a beautiful thing…unity is a choice. Thank you for your words about it being a sacred invitation – it is – and for holding onto my words. That means much ❤

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  7. Fran, what beautiful connections you have made out of community–commune, unity, communion. There are so many gorgeous lines in your post–today my favorites are:

    “Unity wears the cloak
    of altruism
    and walks with
    amazing grace.”

    Wow. These lines say a big AMEN to the scripture you have chosen.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A necessary post, when division seems to be the status quo in so many ways. I find community within the SJT circle; community in my library, communion in the discussions we have there; community when reading about the good that is being done in the world–because there is still good, despite those who seek to widen the divide. I have to wonder what it will take to bring unity, if something as catastrophic as pandemic just seemed to separate us. Thank you for this thoughtful post, Fran–and for being a part of my circles.

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