04 November 2008

renewing my promise to be a companion

this past weekend, the community renewed our promises to participate in the life and work of Oudezijds 100. the brothers and sisters renewed their vows to live and serve here, and those who participate as deelgenoten (those who give time, prayer, and/or money in helping the community) were also asked to affirm their commitment to the work of the community. and i affirmed my commitment to everything it meant to be a companion (tochtgenoot) for the coming year. this year we held the service in Friesland, with a celebration at the farm [see Tom's blog for pictures of the farm].

so what exactly does affirming my commitment to being a tochtgenoot mean? one of the main aspects of being a companion is exploring the role that community, especially Oudezijds 100, has in one's life now - and what place it could have in the future. for each companion, the desire to be a companion, one's place in and connection to Oudezijds 100, and the journey of being a companion are a bit different - even this year is different for me than last. i felt that last year was a confirmation (again) that community, especially the kind that is filled with regular liturgy/prayer and and living out one's faith, is how i would like to live out my life. even being gone for months last year confirmed this desire - when seeing some different communities back in America, i kept thinking "but in Amsterdam, we...," and my heart longed for the community and rhythm of life here. and this year, the question is more of whether this community at Oudezijds 100 is where God really wants me to be, and whether i can be fully myself and use my gifts here well - in the midst of some language and cultural differences and a desire still to be part of a church on a different continent.

when asked after the service what exactly i had committed to, i responded that i had promised to share the responsibilities and difficulties in the community, but also that i got to share in the joys and celebrations. so one hand, it feels like people should be responding to my promise by saying, "blessings," and pray for what i've now gotten myself in to! and yet, it also calls for celebration - for i, along with others, have promised to honour and delight in each other and share our joys together. and so to celebrate, we had food and wine and live music after the service. and i made sure i danced to the music (mostly with small children because they seemed to enjoy it the most). and perhaps part of my joy also came in how i felt safe and encouraged to show my joy by dancing - something that i think i would have been too scared or embarrassed to do at an earlier date. and dancing seemed the perfect thing to do to express the joy and celebration that was part of this promise and this day.

1 comment:

rabbi-philosopher said...

You do have to wonder how an experience as being a part of the OZ community for awhile will impact your worldview in the coming years. PS loved some of the pictures from earlier posts. I hate long flights but I think I'd love to fly to Amsterdam and spend a week wandering around with Tom and Kathy. I know she'd love it; she hopes to visit in the spring I think.