Community is something that has been hard throughout this time of pandemic and distancing. But the ways community has still shown up in and through all of this is a testament to the fact that we are beings created in and for community. As Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’” We are created in the image of God, and God is the community of the Trinity; God, Christ, and Holy Spirit. Thus we as human beings are created into a community. We are created for life together with other human beings. This is part of what makes distancing so hard, being separated from our communities and from life together with others. We are disconnected from an integral part of our own beings, being together in community. Even still community is finding ways of showing up.
One of the interesting and somewhat unique opportunities that this time of online worship has afforded us is to be able to see and experience how others are doing virtual worship. To worship with congregations or communities with which we were once a part, or with our friends/families and their congregations. One of the things I have appreciated most about this has been the opportunity to participate in Evening Prayer services with both my alma mater, Valparaiso University, and a congregation in Cleveland where one of my friends works. Evening Prayer, and Holden Evening Prayer specifically, is one of my all-time favorite worship settings. Holden is a service that has become engrained in my soul through the consistent presence it had in my weekly routine through my college years. It is a service which I know by heart and do not need a bulletin for. And even though these days it has been online it has still been meaningful to be able to be a part of a virtual worshiping community to pray Holden Evening Prayer together. Even though it is very different than worshiping in person, I have experienced how community gathered together to pray online can be a grounding experience. Community even when virtual is so important right now.
I think that when we see someone at a distance or even on a screen, it can be so exciting and filling, because we are getting a tiny taste of community. We are getting a piece of ourselves, a piece of the core of our human-ness, back in that moment. I know it is not the same, and I long for the day when we are able to be together in person and hugs are okay, but I have come to appreciate the different ways we are discovering of being community together while apart. And it is important the longer we are in this that we continue to seek out these ways of connecting with each other. Whether that is having Zoom Happy Hour on Fridays with your relatives or meeting a friend to go for a walk to chat, we need to stay connected to each other because we are created to be in community with one another.
I pray that we all continue to find ways to be connected to and support each other as we continue through this unprecedented time, because being in community is so important to the core of our beings.