O come together in peace;
O come together in joy and sharing,
Come together in joy and sharing,
Come together in knowing and caring;
O come together,
O come together in love.
Beautiful words by Dorothy Grover, from a much loved hymn.
We come together in search
Of new beginnings for all,
Where understanding and trust surround us –
Gone the hate and fear that bound us;
O come together,
O come together in love.
Loving community is something that I believe everyone needs, in order to truly thrive and grow and become all that they can be.
Starhawk catches this need near perfectly when she writes:
“Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.”
John O’Donohue describes beautifully what it means to come together in love. He wrote ““When we come together in compassion and generosity, the hidden belonging begins to come alive between us…”
Madeleine L’Engle in her piece from “Walking on Water”, was also no doubt inspired by the same spirit when she wrote the following.
“We all feed the lake. That is what is important. It is a corporate act. During my time in the theatre I knew what it was to be part of such an enlarging of the human potential, and though I was never more than a bit part player or an understudy, I knew the truth of Stanislavsky’s words: “There are no small roles. There are only small players.” And I had the joy of being an instrument in the great orchestra of a play, learning from the play (how much Chechov taught me during the run of Cherry Orchard), from the older actors and actresses. I was part of the Body. That’s what it’s all about.”
This is spiritual community, this is what it means to come together in love. Something which many observers say is going the way of the Dodo!
Many decry the state that we are in. they say that people are becoming increasingly isolated and selfish and that there is no community concern, no togetherness. Yet in recent weeks I have seen beautiful examples of people coming together in love and helping one another in difficult times. The devastating floods that have hit the north of England, parts of Wales and Scotland in and around the Christmas and New Year period has caused untold damage to individual lives and communities. And what has been the response, well I have witnessed so many people coming together in caring and sharing. Helping one another out in times of need.
I had another personal example too, last week. My car broke down in stationary traffic on the motorway. It had overheated and I had to pull over on to the hard shoulder as there was steam coming out of the bonnet. I opened the bonnet and saw the water coolent tank looking like it was about to explode. I reacted foolishly, thinking I ought to loosen it and steam burst out and burnt my hand and face. I called to be rescued and the help came. As I stood there waiting in pain so many people called out pulled over and offered me water to help sooth my wounds. Just another example of people coming together in love, sharing and caring.
It is easy to get cynical about human nature and the selfishness that can grip us and yet there is a love there when it is allowed to flower and burst out on us all.
The image he painted was bleak. I did think to myself there was something of the Luddite in his fears, but he did make an interesting point. I pointed out to him, as I was paying for the ride, that one thing that would be lost would the fascinating human interactions that we had just shared in if things turned out that way.
The conversation awakened my homiletic consciousness and fed into some of the other thoughts I’ve already discussed in this blog. I thanked him for helping me write my sermon for this week. At which point we both laughed and smiled and got on with our business
This is why, despite current trends, I believe that there will always be spiritual community. Privatised spirituality is not enough, for it does not truly bring the spirit alive. It loses power on its own it cannot thrive and grow. There is a need to come together in love; there is a need for community; there is a need for spiritual community.
Now I didn’t know this when I began searching for answers all those years ago. It’s not why I walked through the doors of Cross Street Chapel almost exactly 11 years ago to the day. I didn’t find what I was looking for, far from it. No, I found far more than I could have even begun to dream of. I found a place where I could come together in love…I hope and pray that it is something that everyone finds on their spiritual journeying.
Let’s continue to come together in truth; let’s continue to come together in peace; let’s continue to come together in joy and sharing; let’s continue to come together in knowing and caring; let’s continue to come together, o come together, o come together in love…