Sacred Community: The Art of Devotion

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

by Paul Hunt Cuffee, RScP/LSP

Today

We see mothers standing guard

In the streets of Portland

Mothers standing arm in arm as sentinels

Mothers

Staring down

Heavily armed sentries

Mothers

Staring down centuries

Of heavily armed oppression

This progression is

The Mother of Community

The Mother of Unity

There in Portland

And here at home

Mothers

Linked arm in arm

Standing in the way of harm

That sentries and centuries of violence

Would bring to their seeds

Weeds

In our garden.

Devotion is not

An emotion

It is a

Demonstration of Love

Mothers

Standing arm in arm

Staring down sentries and centuries

Of what is no longer acceptable

Or tolerable

And ruinous

To their community

Our Community

Mothers of

Devotion

Sentinels of Unity

Saying No!

Saying No More!

Saying: We are here now, and we see you!

We Are Love in Action

And Love is the Law.

Now.

We Are All New Here.

Yes indeed, we are all new here. This pandemic, these pandemics that have taken up residency in our lives and in our consciousness have fundamentally altered our existence. We all know that. The question is: What are we doing about it? How are we, how are you, managing to create or sustain safe and nurturing spaces in your life and in the lives of your loved ones? How are you creating and sustaining your Sacred Community, your “Island of Sanity,” as Margaret Wheatley so brilliantly names it?

Mark Nepo, in More Together Than Alone says:

Our sense of community depends on our foundational understanding of life. If you believe in a world that is not connected or interdependent, but is chiefly competitive, there’s a limit to the degree of trust you can find in life, and a limit to the degree of compassion you can wholeheartedly release. If, however, you believe in a world that is infinitely and irrevocably knit together, in which one spiritual power animates and connects all living things, then there’s no limit to the trust that you can invoke beyond your single life. Through that trust, there is no limit to the degree of compassion you can summon toward other living things, and no limit to the kinship you can discover with all aspects of life.


No limit to the kinship.... Please contemplate that for a moment. Kinship—and its limitless nature. Knowing we are all connected and knowing we are all interconnected is the exact manifestation of the kinship we all live within. There is simply no way to deny that connection, no way to escape it, and no way to not be a part of this world, this life, or the Divine Spirit residing in each and every one of us.

You may choose to resist, though resistance is futile. You may choose to become passive and allow life to “happen” to you, but you cannot escape the connection. Just think of this: When you are called to bear witness to 500 white suburban moms and grandmoms standing with arms locked together, facing down heavily armed paramilitary forces, steadfast and unwaveringly, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, you have to know you are bearing witness to Kinship. You are being called in that moment to bear witness to the power of Love. You are being called, in that moment, to bear witness to the power of unity. As you bear witness to all of that enormous Divine Power, you must also bear witness to the manifestation of Sacred Community.

You see, kinship is inescapable. Our connectedness is inescapable. Even our inherent unity is undeniable, but community is a choice, and Sacred Community is a sacred choice.

So what do I mean by Sacred Community ? A community is most commonly recognized as some sort of social unit built around some sort of commonality, be it religious, political, economic, or cultural. Sometimes communities are based on region, like the communities of Albuquerque, Denver, or New York City. Other times communities are subgroups within a larger group, like communities of color, or indigenous communities, or the Italian-American community. Communities can also form around commonly shared interests of self-preservation and solidarity, like the LGBTQ community—born from an urgent need to assert