Community Matters

What about celebrating the Sabbath as a day to come together in your community? That is important too. In fact the best argument for why religion is still vital, is the need for people to be a part of a community.

In Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women, Sunday afternoon was when the ladies would call upon their neighbors. That brief visit, to a neighbor was a duty for them and its purpose of checking in with women who might go all week without a friendly visit resonates deep within me personally. Looking back upon the times when they lived, I think it was crucial. Humans are social, we need companionship from time to time, not only to help us in times of trouble but also for our psychological well being. Terrible things can happen in houses where no guests visit. Loneliness is the root of many ills. Having neighbors and friends who care about each other is the difference between healthy and unhealthy communities. The damage of my own troubles with my ex-husband and children might have been lessened if there had been a strong local community for me to ask for help.

Looking at the story of Jesus, it is easy to understand why Sunday rather than Saturday became the popular Christian Holy day. It was the day after the Sabbath, he rose from the dead. Naturally those who chose to worship him rejoice at his rising on that day. And Jesus, himself was pretty big on community. Once when addressing a crowd of strangers . . .

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Who ever does God’s will is my brother, sister and mother.”-Mark 3:34-35

When asked about the commandments . . .

The most important one “answered Jesus “is this “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:29-31

My favorite though is . . .

But I tell you who hear me : Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you , bless those who curse you , pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek , turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others what you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:27-31

My own Unitarian-Universalist Church faced a crisis some years ago, when asked why do we continue to meet and hold services on Sunday when we do not believe that it is necessary to go to church to save our souls. After much debate it was agreed that we meet to join together as a community, to share strength and understanding and to celebrate life as a community.

These days most of us visit others virtually pretty regularly, but perhaps it would be healthier, to once a week, take a look around at our actual neighbors. After all, if you fall and break a leg, or your car breaks down, etc. your internet friends may live too far away to give you rides when you need them but your neighbors won’t. For those who have a religious affiliation, the day you meet is predetermined. But I think the day matters less, than the community. It’s the community that matters.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Nicodemas says:

    This is a wonderful post and I love the ideas here.

    Liked by 1 person

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