COMMUNITY SEEKER. A while back, the Bruderhof brethren sent along the following excerpt from Jean Vanier’s book Community and Growth. I have been fascinated by community formation, community development, and community encouragement since reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s descriptions of it in college and participating in a workshop on community formation by M. Scott Peck. I’ve discovered how much I need traveling companions for life’s journey. The Church, I believe, is intended to be and become a company of people committed to exploring and living the full range of faith over a lifetime. Vanier speaks to this.
THE PROBLEM WITH FOUNDING A COMMUNITY. “It is quite easy to found a community. There are always plenty of courageous people who want to be heroes, are ready to sleep on the floor, to work hard hours each day, to live in dilapidated houses. It’s not hard to camp—anyone can rough it for a time. The problem comes in living with brothers and sisters whom we have not chosen but who have been given to us, and in working ever more truthfully towards the goal.”
ACCEPTING WHO WE ARE. “A community is only being created when its members accept that they are not going to achieve great things, that they are not going to be heroes, but simply live each day with new hope, like children, in wonderment as the sun rises and in thankfulness as it sets. Community is only being created when they have recognized that the greatness of humanity lies in the acceptance of our insignificance, our human condition, and to thank God for having put in a finite body the seeds of eternity which are visible in small and daily gestures of love and forgiveness.”