Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday - Ritual and Building Community

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Someone yesterday asked me “Is this typical, what we were able to accomplish on the first day?” I didn’t really know how to respond to the question because I never had really quantified the amount of work done on these service trips. As the only person who has attended all the Charis service trips, I sometimes am looked to as someone with knowledge of the past and of the trade. As a teacher in the classroom during my daily life, I am used to that ritual, people new to an experience asking for guidance from those who have been there before.

If one watches Keith, our construction supervisor, work over the last couple days, one will notice he does not say much, an occasional instruction or a laugh at someone else’s joke, but that is about it. But as a man with forty years or more of carpentry experience, it is easy to see how ritualistic his work-style is, how rhythmic it is. And if one was to watch us today, one could see similar rhythms. Whether it was nailing up wall boards or putting the trusses of the roof into place, each person took up the job that best fit them: stud-finder, nail-gunner, pivoter. We have developed a rhythm where the whole works better the sum of our parts. Catholicism is religion steeped heavily in ritual. We thrive on the communal experience of prayer, song and Eucharist. Maybe there is something to this Jesus was a carpenter thing. And as we build the home for a Habitat family, we build our own community among ourselves.

Dave W.

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