It’s good to be here. When we come together, we find a safe, friendly place; in a way, it is sanctuary in a world of turmoil and change.
I remember when Sunday morning was almost entirely for sanctuary. Church was for seeing people of similar background, for shared music, shared ideas about God and how the world works, and especially for assurance that life’s most important answers were in hand.
Now I am older and I am here, at C3—a Creative, Compassionate Community. Here, in addition to a sense of friendship and sanctuary, we experience a sense of the world’s complexity and its pain, and the sense of having few answers. It can feel both like an easy place to be, and a difficult place to be. I wonder sometimes what it is that draws us as individuals to go in a more complex and more demanding direction than many other folks who meet on Sunday mornings.
I know that some here are motivated primarily by compassion for people; some are motivated by compassion for the earth. For others, creativity propels them to share themselves; and others, their sense of adventure. I think we each have a special personal energy that moves us.
One motivating force we sometimes forget: the force of curiosity, the shear desire to know. And what is more interesting and complex to know about than other human beings: people with different languages, different geographical homes, different appearance, different religions and different views of life. They are so different in so many ways, yet in the end, we find they are so much like us.
Here is a poem about drawing the circle of people in our lives continually wider, starting perhaps where we all start.
I’m living in a little world,
nicely safe and quite confined.
Little views are all I share
with people of my kind.
My thoughts are rarely challenged
so my mind is little too.
It’s time to open up my eyes
and get a larger view;
I’ll stretch my little circle out
to get you inside the line,
so I can learn about your life
and you can learn of mine.
And never mind your clothes, your looks,
your job or politics;
just join me as we stretch ourselves
to join the human mix.
Let’s circle in some different folks
in a different part of town,
some that have lots more—or less
and some that got knocked down.
Let’s draw life’s circle out larger yet,
we can’t discriminate
—draw in the ugly and sublime
—some who love and some who hate.
Swing the arc out wide and long
to hold all kinds of folks and clans
—of every color, every faith,
—from every climate, every land.
Make it wide, and wider still
to circle all; leave none alone
—until we’re circled by the world
and all the world is home.