I’ve been thinking a lot about community. My Rabbi talked recently about how it is a defining part of our synagogue. About God in community. I feel that very strongly, but there are many members of our synagogue community who feel no connection with God, who do not believe in God.
As I ponder, I am reminded of the old question about the tree falling in the forest with no-one there to hear it. Does it make a noise? Is there God in community if a significant number of people don’t feel the God part? I know they feel the community part. I would guess it’s one of the main reasons many of our congregants join this synagogue. We are a caring, giving, and loving community. I love that about us. I love our clergy, and how they lead us toward each other, toward the whole, toward God – should we choose to be led in that direction.
And yet, I’m left with the question about God in community, and pondering what that means. Does one need to feel God for God to exist? Is there a tipping point, after which God doesn’t appear? Is it like the story of Moses and the burning bush, where Moses had to actively notice the bush before God spoke? I often wonder how many people passed that bush, ignorant of the profound opportunity that might have been theirs. (There’s a story in there, somewhere.) When do we notice holiness? When does God appear to us? How? In what form? (The above art is Keith Haring’s Moses and the Burning Bush.)
Does God even appear? Do we, as a community, need to notice that burning bush before we can have God in our midst? Maybe it’s enough for one person to spot the bush and invite God into the room. The rest of us are the community of beneficiaries. I’ll say Amen to that.