One of my favorite moments at an activity in our congregation is at the end of the event when the folks who have been there stay afterward to pitch in and clean up. Those are the moments when you might see two people meeting over the length of a table they are carrying or gaining appreciation for one another as one teaches the other how to rack our wire chairs. Often by the end, the rooms are in order and little clusters of people are lingering to talk and chat and reconnect—or to get to know a new friend.
During the pandemic, when everything was virtual, we didn’t have the chance to do this as much and when we came back, that expectation was muted. We are starting to see it happen again, on Sunday mornings when people stay to stack chairs outside or help with refreshments; at Celebrations of Life and at meetings when people linger to be sure one person doesn’t get left on our beautiful—and a little isolated campus. I was reminded of the importance of this aspect of who we are as a community this week when I took part in an event where this was not the case, where one staff member was tasked with set up and clean up for a large event. A beautiful event became an injustice in those hours.
What I love about the chaos of us all doing it together is how we each find the little bit we can do. Some can lift tables and others pick up the stray napkins or put away nametags and other misplaced items. Some have knowledge of where things go and others have the muscles to get them there. Every little bit helps and when we all pitch in, it is a wonderful expression of community. That is so true of so many aspects of our community life. And I am very grateful for that this week.