I remebered yesterday that a dear friend from Northumbria had given me some books on community when we visited. Among them was Jean Vanier’s “Community and Growth”. So, I grabbed it and opened to the point where I had left a cigar band for a bookmark. Here is what I found:
“Using our gifts is building community. If we are not faithful to our gifts, we are harming the community and each of its members as well. So it is important that all members know what their gifts are, use them and take responsability for developing them; it is important that the gift of each member is recognised and that each is accountable to the others for the use to which this gift is put. We all need each other’s gifts; we must encourage their growth and our fidelity to them. Everyone will find their place in community according to their gift. They will become not only useful but unique and necessary to the others. And so rivalry and jealousy will evaporate”
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The insights into community life are astounding. The tales of redemption as people find their niche for their gift and have the community encourage its development, regardless of how simple of banal the gifts seems, are inspiring in the way that word used to mean.
We CAN live this way…