My father-in-law’s favorite word is “togetherness.” It’s all about “togetherness.” “We spent some good time in togetherness;” “The togetherness we shared was really wonderful;” etc. I like the word. “Togetherness” has become more and more important to me as well. Maybe with age the need to achieve begins to give way to something deeper.

Still, it’s nice to be doing something while enjoying togetherness. This morning about 8 of us tackled the task of moving a full-sized grand piano up two steps into the chancel area of the church and maneuvering it over chipboard sheets to where it belongs after having the wood floor refinished. Everyone had ideas for what to do. As each challenge presented itself a natural kind of brainstorm happened that eventually rained out a workable solution. What seemed like it wouldn’t work did, and what didn’t work—well, we never got around to any of those, thanks be to God. We were like a bunch of worker-bees with no clear queen, each one busily giving their all to the task at hand and finding, almost by accident, that together, it worked Clearer leadership and someone with some real engineering skills might have made the job go more efficiently and predictably, but as it was, WE did it. We don’t have to share the lion’s share of the glory with anyone in particular. Each of us contributed something important and indispensable. All of us are grateful to one another. The congregation has reason to be grateful equally to us all.

“Togetherness” became for me today a way of talking about that underlying sense of community that draws us to tackle jobs of common concern by joining forces. Undergirding the community is the mystery of synergy, the fact that together we are more than the sum of our parts. Ken Wilber, the philosopher, would remind us that each greater level of being includes and transcends the previous level. The community is categorically greater than the individual, though the individual cannot be lost in community or the community itself falls apart. As a Christian, I would say it’s about spirit and Holy Spirit, that place where the great mystery within and the Great Mystery without become one.

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