The Presence of Community

After a terribly difficult week, Saturday was a bit of a respite. Central Baptist Church was out and about doing various tasks and it was nice to see the breathe of community life in action.

Things began in the morning as a group of folks gathered to take care of the fallen leaves and get them ready to be picked up. Thanks to people’s dedication, and an awesome leaf vacuum, we got the job done in record time 1. Even better than the record time was the arrival of a father and daughter arrived to take some donated turkeys down to our local food pantry. They reminded us we don’t exist as a church simply to exist.

After I went in and showered, I wandered back over to the church building, where I discovered several things going on.

First, someone was preparing the wreaths to be hung on the church for Advent. Her work was beautiful, and we got to chat about Pokémon Go for a bit 2.

Second, I wandered in to our Sunday School Auditorium where people were dropping off shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child 3. It was great to see people happily engaged in that type of hospitality.

Third, I wandered over toward the sanctuary. There I met a man “having some fun” as he prepared the handrail at the main entrance for painting. Upon entering the sanctuary I found another gentleman painting part of our walls, covering up some spots which we’d just had repaired. It’s work I’m not good at, but it always touches me people are interested in doing it.

The community’s presence in my day didn’t stop there.

My exceedingly minor saga of finding a TV came to an end 4, but wouldn’t have if a Central Member hadn’t loaned us the use of his minivan.

When I was out visiting a family as they made funeral preparations we were interrupted by a knock at the door. A member of Central had stopped by to drop of a dessert, “just because.” As we prepared the arrangements I sent out a call to the church for volunteers to bring desserts for the luncheon and for people to help clean up afterward. Within the hour people were stepping forward to help.

These small things greatly buoyed my spirits. When things go kablooey 5 one can feel isolated cut off. The breath of community gently says, “You aren’t alone.” A community which breathes is a good community, and after the struggle and sorrow of this past week a good community was just what I needed.

  1. Most of these have now blown back on to the property, as a massive cold front has moved in with some howling winds. But still, it was nice. 
  2. I pastor a wonderfully odd church. 
  3. Central is a local collection site. 
  4. Given the mess the world is in, having a TV really isn’t important, but when everything is spiraling uncontrollably fixing a minor problem can seem like a huge triumph. 
  5. That’s a technical term.