Throughout Holy Scripture God is calling people into community with God and with one another. Even the Lord’s Prayer is written in the plural, “Our Father,” and, “give us this day…”
God calls communities of people into relationship. Every community has the potential to be a means of God’s grace. Today, the word “community” can be applied to almost any grouping: corporations, nations, animals, insects or Christians.
A family is a community and called into relationship with God. At weddings we say that marriage is, “a gift of God and a means of his grace…” Congregations gathered, to bear witness to the vows, should note that it is specifically the marriage that is the means of God’s grace; not the wedding service. Each person in a marriage has a responsibility to be a minister to the other and to allow for God’s grace.
In family life we have formed a special community and have rights and responsibilities associated with community life. If only we were perfect. Marriages, like many communities falter and break apart. A challenge for us is to discern when reconciliation is possible and when it’s better for everyone to move on and form new communities.
It is clear, in so many ways, that God calls us together in community. The word “community” is like a compound word, combining two Latin words: “together” and “gift.” Being in community with others is a gift. It is also often challenging, even heartbreaking. The additional gift, in every community, is God our creator. God is always present, where two or three are gathered in his name. God is that unspoken bond that brings us back weekly, monthly or eventually.
This community of St. Paul’s Church, though not perfect, is a means of grace and a significant blessing to each member and many others besides. Being a means of grace is about coming to a fuller understanding of God’s presence.