This evening the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande will gather in a big festive celebration of the Eucharist at St. Andrew’s Church, Las Cruces. We will commend our coming work to God and give thanks for our common life. Then tomorrow and Friday delegates, alternates, visitors and guests, bishops and other clergy, will gather at the Convention Center to discuss the various issues that confront and enhance our community of faith. It will be a time to renew old friendships and forge new ones. There will be vendors there selling everything and anything liturgical, spiritual or religious you might want. There will be booths promoting various ministries of the Diocese and of parishes spreading the word about what is going on. There will be the giving of reports, discussions and votes, appointments and elections. It’s all rather grand, really.
But it’s more than grand. We are communal creatures. We need one another. Alone we mean nothing at all, but in community we relate, and in the relating we discover who we are, for who we are is always “who we are together,” I am me because of you. It’s not just that we are incomplete if we are alone, we are meaningless if we are truly alone. Now, community extends beyond the human species so that I can be alone in the sense of not having other humans around and I still have meaning, but the community of the human family is the most important element in the community of creation, and with other humans we gather intentionally. Feeling utterly alone is perhaps the most devastating of experiences a human can undergo.
The Christian concept of God is communal: Father, Son and Holy Spirit in perfect harmony. From this unconditional love spins creation itself. To not be in community is to deny the nature of our Source that permeates and conditions all existence. To be in community, be it ever so flawed, is to approach the mystery of the Ground of our being. It is to be on the journey back into the heart of God.