Called to Community

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

May 30, 2021 – The Most Holy Trinity - Matthew 28:16-20

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One of the reasons many of us have difficulty understanding that there is in God a community of persons, is this: Contemporary life values the individual person more than the community in which we live. That communal dimension of life takes on many forms like family, neighborhood, town, country, and even being part of the global community.

Valuing our individual identity is not wrong. After all, God is both one and a community. There are not three gods, but one. But that one God exists as three individuals. This is a great mystery of our faith, something we celebrate this Sunday.

Christian scholars have called this belief “a both/and” tenet of our faith. God is both one and three. In a similar way we are both individuals and communal. We are called to take care of ourselves and others – not one or the other. This command is captured in the biblical command: love your neighbor as yourself.


We are still immersed in what will be for most of us, the greatest challenge of our lifetime, the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all been affected and it has forced us to rethink what it means to act in a responsible way during these times. We are charged with taking care of ourselves and our neighbors in new ways. Personal rights and communal rights have to be newly balanced.

Those deeply committed to individual rights have protested at times. They didn’t want the government (or anyone) to tell them what to do. In contrast, some are familiar with the John Donne poem, No Man is an Island. In that poem we are reminded that we are all part of something larger than ourselves, or part of a whole.

During the pandemic we were told to remain socially distanced from others. I found this to be one of the more difficult practices that was being urged upon us by public health experts. We were shown pictures of restaurants with people sitting widely distanced from others. Most disturbing to me were scenes of churches where the congregation was spread out – the exchange of peace had to be air-mailed among those gathered.

Through these days we have all been asked to reflect on both our personal and communal lives in new ways. Maybe we will depart these times with a greater appreciation of the importance of balancing our individual with our communal lives. Thus, we would be more reflective of God’s life.

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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