Community and Presence
Sunday Sharing - Community Means Presence
I’ve written about post-ritual malaise and recovery. The needed extra sleep, turning off the phone, and withdrawing from social media for awhile. Just taking care of myself and spending time in reflection. As clergy, we answer the calls from our community as not just service, but as a response in genuine love and friendship. We want to help. We want to be there for others. And, this is especially true for Pagan clergy, we don’t do it for the money.
It is absolutely true that building community has many costs. However, in my experience, the work is worth it because the relationships are worth it. Building community is not just about the physical realm of a building or outdoor space. At the roots, one of my favorite concepts in Paganism, is the fundamental understanding of relationship that occurs between beings and ideas, usually after a lot of work.
To exist in this world, on any plane of existence one might imagine and believe, is to be in relationship to something, even in relationship with ourselves. For myself, relationship requires that I am open to experiencing something or someone/Someone, and entering into a communion/communication of sorts. From there, relationship occurs and grows. Of course there are boundaries and agreements in place, but an awareness of others/Others proceeds.
There are costs involved in the give and take of relationships, and the possibility always exists that one party will give or take more than another. The idea of building community can be a fearful one. Whether the fear is a personal fear of exposure in the wider world, a fear of organized religion and institutions, fear of being held responsible to make monthly donations to support a cause, or fear of committing time in pursuit of leading and teaching. Commitment involves risk. By your absence, a question I have asked is not simply “Why not build community?” but rather, “What do you risk by not building community?”