Views of Faith – Community is Messy

What times we are living through! A time of pandemic, a time of inflation, a time of increasing violence against folks who are different, a time of housing insecurity and weather fluctuation! Oops, I guess that last one is more of a standard than a surprise if you live in Rupert, but you know what I mean.

We long for days gone by when we remember things being calmer, more reliable and gentler.

But the truth is … there has never been such a time. There have always been challenges. And believe it or not, we are closer to peace now than we have been in many a decade. You see, we are slowly coming to the recognition that this God we worship, this Creator who loves us so much, loves each and every person we meet at least as much as the Creator loves us! We are, slowly but surely, growing to honour those around us, our neighbours, as beloved, honest, and honourable.

But as much as we want our lives to run smoothly and calmly, as much as we want less drama and more comfort when people come together in community, things get messy.

That is because we are all so very different. We each bring to any gathering our own sense of good order, which is based on the teachings of our family of origin, our past experiences of trauma, our access to privilege and our cultural background. So when we gather with folks whose sense of good order is different from ours own, we will feel friction or discomfort. It feels hard. It feels messy. And we don’t know how to keep it all neat and tidy so that it makes sense in our heads and our hearts.

But you know what? That sense of unease, that little bit of friction, helps us grow in new and exciting ways. It helps us expand our vocabulary and our vision. If we can learn to appreciate the differences among us, the community that we form can be stronger and more supportive than any we have experienced in previous days and times!

The grace that we both extend and receive has a way of helping us find hope even in dark times because we know that we have a large and diverse community which has weathered difficulties before and brings a wealth of knowledge and support to any situation! And it is our connections, through temple or church, work friends and bar buddies, chosen family and family of origin, that give us opportunities to practice the beautiful messiness of community. And it is that practice that allows us to grow in our understanding and our love of those around us.

Community is messy, but it is the safety net that catches us when we slip. Community is messy, but it builds more resilient people. Community is messy, but it helps us appreciate this great big wonderful world and the blessing of the people whom God has placed in our paths. We are so blessed to live in such a diverse and wonderful place. Let’s make a glorious mess!

Rev. Diana Edis

St. Pauls Lutherin Church