Last week I was in church to celebrate a friend’s 25th wedding anniversary. I have not been quite so moved for a long time, which got me asking myself why? Several reasons struck me; firstly there was the public declaration of love. But there was far more to it than that. The couple were regular worshippers at the church before their marriage and continue to attend to this day. They had also had central roles in the church’s charitable work with the homeless in London as well as keenly working on the restoration of this important church, so it can continue its important work.
All of this was evident in the service where there was a beautiful sense of community and purpose (ie that everyone was engaged in something important whatever their position was in that community). One particualy touching moment was a performance by StreetWise Opera (streetwiseopera.org & @StreetwiseOpera), a charity that uses music to help homeless people tackle some of the problems in their lives. This was not just a celebration of my friend’s wedding; it had become far more than that – a connection with a wider community and how that community helps itself and where it draws its energy from – both in terms of its past and the interconnected network of the present.
A simple act of celebration can enable a joint noticing of what is important in our lives and how we are connected with each other. There are always dangers in making direct comparisons; say between people gathering for a church service and working in an organisation, but I think for those of us who work in organisations we have something to learn!