Facetime and Zoom and other platforms are great substitutes for communities when we are so isolated in our homes without a park or restaurant or coffee shop or church to meet in, but they lack the closeness that community usually brings us, the ability to read another’s body language and vibes that being with someone in person gives us. And what a loss that is! Zoom meetings, I am finding, are a little stiff and unnatural, but still we are together in a way.
There are a lot of different nuances to the words commune and community. One that is obvious is that we share certain things in common—characteristics or interests, history, social, professional and economic interests, joint ownership or participation, fellowship, even society at large. A second nuance is in the verb commune which means to be on the same wave-length, to agree on basic truths or propositions. A third is about all the different communities we are a part of—be it a neighborhood or common location, a professional society, a group of friends.
Perhaps the blessing of all this isolation is realizing how much we value and need our communities of family and friends and neighbors and Americans. It is not until we lose something that we gain a sense of its true importance in our lives. It is as if we Americans have been hunkered down in our own lives, our busy, anxiety-ridden lives with little time beyond work and just keeping our households going. Now that we have little experience of community, we are beginning to see how important it is in our lives.
As this world-wide virus has taken hold of countries from Asia to Europe to Africa to the Americas, we can see that we are all in this life together. And it takes a virus to show us how closely knit we are! I wonder how this virus will impact, influence our future decisions. If we truly believe what Genesis 1:27 says that human beings are created in the image of God, that all of us are children of God, whether we know it or not, then that belief should change a lot of the ways we interact with each other in this world.