Hope: It Looks to Me Like a Community

From Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, Senior Co-Minister

I’ve begun to receive holiday cards. One of the notes came, as it does every year, from an intentional community where I lived for a year and a half, while studying for the ministry at Meadville Lombard Theological School. The Sophia Community, an intentionally interfaith home, nourishes the lives of their residents and those lucky enough to be invited to their vegetarian Sunday Community Suppers.

The note came, as it does every year, from one of the Sophia Community founders. This year she ended by sharing her tremendous gratitude for all the home’s members that have helped her to bring up her two children (both born in the home) now aged 7 and 16.

Community – the hope that I might be able to serve the building of community – is the root of my call to the ministry. In a congregation, we bring up one another’s children, we lift one another’s spirits, we feed those that might go hungry, and as we do, we develop a deeper commitment to the end goal of a truly beloved community – one where respect and relationship can not be torn asunder by deceit or difference.

Throughout the month of December our congregation’s Covenant Groups considered the theme of Hope. Covenant Groups are one of the ways that we work to understand and then build beloved community. Perhaps this reading, that our Covenant Groups were invited to share for their closing words, will speak the hope you need, in this season. Perhaps these words will help you feel the warmth of our community:

“We are not saints, we are not heroes. Our lives are lived in the quiet corners of the ordinary. We build tiny hearth fires, sometimes barely strong enough to give off warmth. But to the person lost in the darkness, our tiny flame may be the road to safety, the path to salvation. It is not given us to know who is lost in the darkness that surrounds us or even if our light is seen. We can only know that against even the smallest of lights, darkness cannot stand. A sailor lost at sea can be guided home by a single candle. A person lost in a wood can be led to safety by a flickering flame. It is not an issue of quality or intensity or purity. It is simply an issue of the presence of light.” – Kent Nerburn