A Tale of Two Churches (PART II)
…but there is more to the story…
(if you’re not sure what story I’m talking about you’ll need to go back and read “A Tale of Two Churches (PART I)”)
At the same time that the first group set out for the proverbial greener pastures, a second group, several days-journey north, also set out. For some strange reason, this group decided that they would first commit themselves to each other. In other words, each person agreed that they would do what was in the best interest of the community rather than self. They agreed that they would look out for each other…
…to look after each other…
…to matter to each other.
As they prepared they faced a significant amount of ridicule. Neighbours couldn’t understand why anyone would commit to travel with “that poor family from the other side of the creek”, family members who said “You’d be better off if you left Uncle Ted behind,” politicians upset that no one seemed to care for their advice.
The day they left was as miserable as any. Rain came down in sheets, turning the already primitive roads into muddy rivers. They didn’t get anywhere near as far as they had hoped but none of that dampened their spirits. The evening was spent running from covered wagon to covered wagon and the sound of their laughter seemed to make music with the pit-a-pat of the rain.
The morning sunrise was spectacular… of course they always thought that…
Don’t get me wrong, their journey saw more than its fair share of danger, frustration and hardship. Somehow, these things seemed to make them stronger both individually and as a community. As issues arose, suggestions were offered. At times there were debates that went late into the night and sometimes voices were raised as one person or the other sought to make their point. However, because they had started with the conviction that no issue was more important than a relationship, it was never long before they were laughing, and caring, and sharing again.
Soon the weather signalled the inevitable changing of the seasons and a community gathering was called in order to discuss what to do. There was no rule that stated only certain individuals should talk, but it seemed to make sense to allow those who had the experience and knowledge to be called upon. When the suggestion was made that they stop travelling and prepare for the winter it seemed so obvious the only questions were “When?” and “Where?”.
I’ll spare you the details of the journey. It was long, and difficult. There were shortages of food, unexpected injuries, wild storms, freezing nights, blistering heat, strange illnesses and yes, several folks died.
Of course there were also births, and birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, they regularly stopped to share meals of thanks and even managed a Christmas feast while they were enroute.
Finally, however they reached their destination.
Soon all the evening gatherings focussed on planning the layout and the building of their town. What buildings would go up first, where the roads would run, town square, market, community centre and so forth. Most of those decisions were logical. The most heated conversations centred around what to name the town. Of course, there were several suggestions. And given that the subject matter was more emotional than rational there was significant disagreement… some of it loud…
…but some inspired laughter.
In the end, it was decided that the issue was not that important.
“Let’s build.” they said.
Voices in turn said things like, “Let’s keep serving each other.”
“The name is something we can decide later.”
“Maybe something will emerge as we go along.”
As with their entire journey, it was clear that they were committed not to the project…
…not to the idea of a town…
…not to the monetary value of the right name…”
But to each other…
As a result every, and any, little or large thing that might have torn them apart became nothing more, and nothing less than one more thing to bind them together.
Anyone want to take a journey?