Community this, community that. Sometimes I think the word gets used just to sound cool rather than describe what a person is truly experiencing at the moment.
Another word, and old word, is catching my attention this morning: Parish. I’ve only heard it used to describe a small congregation somewhere in the country — St. John’s Lutheran parish. …The parish of The Sacred Heart.
It’s an old word. It carries tradition. It’s too clunky to get overused, I imagine.
Parish. The localized. The particular. The right here, right now. The people I’m committing myself to regardless if a higher paying job comes in front of me.
Something that needs rebuilt is a sense of community (opps, there’s that word again) — I mean, a sense of parish. I think it’s something many of us long for, deep within. A sense of belonging to a group in a way that everyone knows that if something bad were to happen to one of the “parishoners” then the rest of us would step in and lend a hand as best we knew. I’m talking about something much more outreaching than the typical local church (though that’s the best thing going right now). I’m thinking of a neighborhood of people, a few block radius, something like that. People who strive to live life together, ordinary life. …sharing things. …paying attention to one another. …talking on the front porches. Things like that.
Now, I think it would be wonderful if this group could pray together, read Scripture together, and be the church, in a true old-fashioned parish way. You know – the kind of way that shows up in a rural congregation when no one leaves after the service is done – everyone’s just hanging out, sharing stories, all those nothin’ too important stories.