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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Big

Reunion season is upon us. Loaves and Fishes is over as well as McGowan's Lake. Both have been deemed great success. Last week several people experienced an Encounter with World Religions and this week that theme continues as another small community works towards Healing and Freeing the Spirit. Others eagerly anticipate the wonderful time they'll have at Erie Beach or Camp Noronto.

Some groups are small and some are big. My thoughts on big, however, go somewhat beyond the numbers participating in each event. And I'm not entirely sure I know how to speak about this in a way that's clear. It seems to me that ideas of big are not just about numbers, but also about attitude. I sense different feelings in our various groups; sometimes within the same group.

I've noticed that groups of people love to come together at reunion. They come with immediate family, with extended family, with friends from school, from the congregation and they feel like one big happy family. They love to be with this community where all feel safe and warm and welcome and beloved. They draw a tight encircling band around this community and bask in how it feels for this one week. They look forward to next year when they'll do it again. They think of strategies to pull even more people inside this circle. They hope to make the circle even bigger!

Yet, something feels kind of small to me here. Because I know that the world is just so much bigger than this very tight community. There are so many outside our circle who would not feel right here. They'd not know the old stories or the way things happen here, year after year. And for them, what feels like a big happy family would feel just too small for them.

I don't have an answer. Why, I don't even have a proper question! I do see some individuals being pulled into the circle. We tend to feel great success if we do this for one or two new folks. And I agree; much rejoicing in heaven for one lost soul, etc.

Whatever the numerical size of your event, can you get your mind around the concept of the great big world out there that needs you to remember it? to make room for it? to keep the doors open, boundaries porus? Can you stay open to changing the way things happen here? Maybe to point of feeling uncomfortably strange?

Is there a big reason to do this? Are we really practising to be a Zionic community? Or are we just being happy to be us, without any big problems, if only for one week a year?

Any thoughts from you, dear readers?

Posted by Marion

3 comments:

  1. I agree that it is always easier to "preach to the choir" and to retreat to what makes us comfortable. This sometimes is in smaller commnities than we spend most of our lives. This is indeed a big, wide wonderfull world but for a lot of the inhabitants of this marvellous space it is small and confining. Small because of poverty, confining because of fear. The thing that "matters most" is indeed our response to the fear, the poverty, thecaptivity, the crushed dreams, and the groans from the planet. Unhappily those issues never seem to abate. They continue to invade our thoughts and break our hearts. They cause us to act in ways that we perhaps had not envisioned ourselves acting; but they are relentless, appearing to be unbeatable. We become overwhelmed and tired. Our response is to retreat for a short time so we can feel appreciated, loved, accepted, and verified. Someone else now wipes away our tears so our eyes may once again see clearly this world as it can be when we do "what matters most". We are happy to be us for a short time where we can practice community so that we may be better equipped to do it for real in that bigger community that calls to us daily. We are happy to be "us" not exclusinary just "us"; accepting, concerned, caring but for a short time, perhaps smaller to be able to do bigger and that is not a bad thing.

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  2. Oh yes, for sure Don. Thanks so much for engaging in this thought I'm trying to have :-)
    And for going with my big/small concept.

    I love your words about what mattering most is our response to the fear. I recall once hearing a dear friend and pastor who was a volounteer firefighter. He referred to the hymn "let your hearts be broken" that came to his mind as he pulled a neighbour's child from a car wreck. So many of us have professions where that is what we do every day.

    So I too am grateful to have a place to retreat, to find nurture and renewal. I think what is bothering me some is my concern that too many of the words I hear at these places of retreat do not give me hope that we're going back out into that needy world, but that we're leap-frogging from retreat to retreat and letting world go hungry.

    I appreciate your reminding me that this is not the case. Bless you for being one who does indeed "let your heart be broken for a world in need."

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  3. I'm not going to lie to you -- I'm dreaming BIG!
    Another young adult was talking about dreaming too big because what happens is going to be more than before. I like this.
    I'm often frowned upon by some when I start talking about go big, launching large, or planning for church which can grow large. As if our church, Community of Christ is suppose to be small churches and I'm silly because its unrealistic because we just don't have big churches.
    However, I believe I dream big for all the right reasons. I know God loves everyone, so why don't we build community with room for everyone.
    The phrase I heard so often was 'Each one Reach One'. I feel people think I should be focus on the few we have, and not be concerned with the many we don't have. Why not say 'This guy Will Reach Twenty-Five?'(or more) Isn't it okay to be greedy here?
    GB Matthew

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