29 August 2009

Healing and Homecoming

Yesterday Hopewell Centre held a Meeting for Worship for Healing, in support of those struggling with serious illness. Tomorrow we will hold Worship and Homecoming, celebrating the longevity of our presence with and among each other. These events are the milemarkers in the daily ordinary life that is community at Hopewell Centre.

I've discovered this year how much community is built block by block, day after day, but is most often noticed at milestones. Births and deaths, illness and recovery, each serves to help us sit and take notice of what has been quietly evolving while we weren't even looking.

I'm not sure whether Meeting for Healing is something familiar to other meetings. It developed in our meeting about 8 or ten years ago when several friends were struggling with cancer. It was uplifting to all of us to meet and specifically focus on prayer and healing light. Then Iraq happened, and people were looking for healing for the world, so we came together for that purpose. A nice warmth developed between the small group of worshipers, and we all felt a little closer as a result.

We've also had a Seeker's group, comprised of newcomers and oldtimers looking for a chance to talk to each other about their spiritual journey. We've had Bible Study and a support group. Each little piece puts a block in the house called community.

Memorials are the place where I really notice the house God has built around us: Feeling the joined Spirit in the room, listening to Friends tell how their lives were touched by the member, listening to friends tell of the influence that person had on their lives. A memorial never fails to bring a new attender into our midst; most likely affected by the felt Presence in the room, they are drawn to come back.

I spent a long time in my life seeking community, and not finding it, even in places that called themselves communities. I discovered a while back why: I was always looking for what that place could give to me, rather than what I had to offer it. I thought somehow I would find the place where I fit, waiting, already prepared for me. It was always there, though I didn't know that I was the piece that place might need to become whole. I was unaware of the importance of each brick to the building's stability, so I failed to notice the niche that was waiting for me.

These days I reverence every brick, piece of mortar, pane of glass that contributes to the whole. I mean both the physical structure and the spiritual body. I am so grateful that I have something to offer. When I sit in worship, the physical building reminds me of the souls who have called Hopewell home; it supports me in feeling their presence among the living. When I look in worship at the other souls sharing that space with me, I celebrate each individual and their unique contribution to the solidness of community. The lives and spirits of the living support me in feeling the wholeness of the community. They call me to feel a part of and then help me define what my part is. This living breathing timeless wonder is the substantiation of the Love of God.

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