Community: A word that crops up daily during the Covid-19 pandemic is ‘Community’, but what exactly does this word mean?
Community usually refers to a social unit that shares common values. There will usually be a cohesiveness of intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, or identity.
A community can also be widely diverse – particularly if the connectedness is primarily one of geographical location (neighbourhood, village, housing , church, sports club, etc.). However, since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community has less geographical limitation - people can now gather virtually in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location. But the present situation has helpfully stretched the defining of community to be more widely embracing. We all have a common connection, all have shared hopes, fears and needs, and all need to identify with each other.
The word "community” originates from the Latin communitas (cum, "with/together" and munus, "gift"). Noting that the Latin construct includes ‘gift’ (‘munus’) reminds us that community is not simply something we belong to but is also something we are called to contribute to. Perhaps we might also make a vernacular translation of the Latin meaning as ‘we are all in this together, and we all have something we can contribute’.
In darkness and in light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us, heavenly Father,
to trust your love,
to serve your purpose,
and to praise your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.