30 March 2022

Walking to God within community

None of us work or walk alone. As Ron Rolheiser (1999) says, we are “walking to God within a community” (p. 135). Who we are as Christians is not merely an individual pursuit, because, “Part of the very essence of Christianity is to be together in a concrete community, with all the real human faults there are and the tension that this will bring us” (Rolheiser, 1999, p. 99).

At Laidlaw we’ve known a number of quite significant workplace changes over the past few years. We have and are adapting to them. Another change is on the horizon with the lifting of the vaccine mandates. Thinking of how we move through this change, I’m reminded that we are a mature community, and while there may be differences, we are able to listen to each other.

For some people, returning to work in person might be a time of celebration, of reuniting with colleagues and enjoying the spirit of working kanohi ki te kanohi. For others, returning to the office might cause a sense of unease, having had so much space to themselves. Some might want to throw themselves into the buzz of community relating, while for others, it might be a matter of wading gradually into it.

In thinking of what might help guide us through this time of ‘re-gathering’, I’m mindful that maturity can involve a person knowing what they need and being willing to kindly communicate this clearly to others. This might involve communicating when one needs to work alongside someone, or when they need solitary space to think. Maturity can also involve listening to differences. In re-gathering, some people might want to talk about issues of the day. Others might feel a little fatigued by conversations about the pandemic. One rule of thumb is to be mindful of the needs of the other person.

A mature community is not necessarily one of sameness, but where differences remain present. Being part of a community, with all our differences, is one way we can grow in maturity, aiming to reflect Christ through how we are together.

Sarah Penwarden
Senior Lecturer - Counselling

Rolheiser, R. (1999). The holy longing: The search for a Christian spirituality. Random House.