A Strong Community ... Continues

Two weeks ago, only two weeks ago, inspired by both the wonderful church dinner 28 of us had at the Apple Barrel and also by the way in which everyone was specifically supporting the Stanley family in their need, I wrote these words: "The strong community fills our gaps, makes us whole, supports us in time of need, rejoices when we are happy." There was more to that article; my own focus was strength in diversity, and then many of you approached me at the Ham Dinner on Saturday and on Sunday at church to say how meaningful it was and how different phrases and ideas in the writing struck chords in your hearts.

How little did I realize that strong community bond would be illuminated so starkly, and on such a world-reaching stage, just a few short weekends later. 

Today's picture is not something cute I found on the Internet, it is not a picture of smiling faces enjoying a meal, a good time. It is not a picture of something funny or cute that happened at an SUPC event. It is a picture of people gathered together: Schoharie, Central Bridge, Amsterdam and more, but you can't tell from this picture where people are from. They are here. You can see papers in hands, in laps, the focus of everyone is clearly directed at the wall with the black banner. It is a crowd of people. It could be a graduation, or an award ceremony; there is nothing to say, in the picture, clearly, what is going on, but the fact there are so many people gathered says this is a group of people experiencing something together, bonded together. 

The strong community fills our gaps... When the community is strong, everyone knows they have a way of contributing, there are certain elements of specialization as, for example, someone with a talent for hairdressing and someone else who can make a webpage might work together. Sharing talents fills each other's gaps. When tragedy strikes, some have the job and the training to go directly to the scene and begin to rescue. Those of us without that ability provide the second, third, and so forth levels of care, filling in the gaps.

The strong community makes us whole... 1 Corinthians says "There is one body but it has many parts." We are stronger when we all work together, we are all one whole, and through that wholeness, we are each whole ourselves when we call on our body. Paul says, "the body is made of many parts... if all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts, but only one body."  

The strong community supports us in time of need... This was made abundantly clear at last night's vigil when the gathered community sang Lean on Me and the Central Bridge station stood together in a group hug. 

The strong community rejoices when we are happy... Today, WGNA shared a blog post: The Sun Will Shine Again In Schoharie, and on this drizzly, rainy, cloudy day, Brian, of Brian and Chrissy, is right. We are all already feeling a little lightening, a little clearing of the air. There will be weddings and birthday parties, trunk-or-treat, parades. A little piece of us will always be in Amsterdam, and those families so tragically affected will forever be with us here. 

The strong community is a net - the members are all connected to one another, sometimes in surprising ways. This net can catch and cradle anyone who comes through the door.

Rev. Andrea Joy Holroyd

SUPC Pastor