“When the day of Pentecost came, “all the believers were gathered together in one place. “Suddenly there was a noise from the sky “which sounded like a strong wind blowing, “and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. “Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire “which spread out and touched each person there. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit “and began to talk in other languages, “as the Spirit enabled them to speak.” Acts 2:1-4
Following on from our thought about giving feedback and saying “thank you” yesterday (which seems like an obvious thing but actually very few people do well!) today I’d like us to think about sharing encouragement.
In these times of isolation and ground hog days, how vital is has been to have someone, somewhere telling us to keep going, we will get through this.
Just like saying “please” and “thank you”, we all know the difference it makes when someone treats us with the kind of respect and consideration and support that encouragement offers.
The writer and founder of “The Catholic Worker” Dorothy Day writes “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
Communities are places where we notice our difference and diversity alongside other people; we need to be together to appreciate the unique talents and personalities we each have in contrast to those around us. Groups and teams begin to emerge and blossom when we realise the world would lack creativity and be a very dull place if we were all the same.
Although we have been missing friends and family so much recently, there is a flip side to lockdown for many people where living in a bubble starts to feel strangely secure and controllable and we wonder if we might manage to survive on our own without much contact with the outside world.
However, everyone relies on community in some way or another, no matter what our personal, social, or economic circumstances. No one can do it all—feed, clothe, heal, comfort, house, employ, and educate—for ourselves or our families. Despite our current circumstances, we were never meant to try – we were created to live in community. Tomorrow is Trinity Sunday, the day when we remember the 3 persons of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and recognise that community relationship. God, in essence is community and creates us in His image.
From the very beginning of the evolutionary process, species have worked together in mutually beneficial ways to survive. Mammals particularly have a track record of fostering the young of others within their species and kinship group, but it happens across or between species as well. Even the “fittest,” biggest, and strongest do not survive without the cooperation of others.
And even if we think we can be pretty self sufficient with online shopping, working from home, zoom and facetime, nothing is as good as being face to face in community. Our community, our church, is the place where, at it’s best, we find welcome and sharing, comfort and challenge, encouragement and embrace.
One example of community and happy memory I go to in these times is the school assembly. Singing and sharing together, reflecting on our week – encouraging one another is as important as our school dinners or the air we breathe!
Here’s one of my go to school assembly songs from Fischy:
Today’s prayer (the prayer of Pope Francis)
Do we want to be heard? Let us first listen.
Do we need encouragement? Let us give encouragement.
Do we want someone to care for us? Let us care for those who are alone and abandoned.
Do we need hope for tomorrow? Let us give hope for today.
Let us become messengers of the comfort bestowed by the Spirit. Amen