There comes great benefit in thinking more universally, greater than our immediate circumstances or ourselves.
There is a saying “We are the body of Christ, for his Spirit is with us”. The saying doesn’t say I am the body of Christ, for his spirit is with me, but rather it says WE are the body of Christ, his spirit is with US. And that US includes past, present and future members.
The body is an interesting metaphor because a body has various parts, shapes and sizes. Can you define a body? Is the body a finger or a toe or is a toe part of the whole body? I’ve found it of great benefit to think of this in a universal and mystical sense which brings the individual and otherness together.
I’ve heard and read various people try and define community as a local geographical and tangible entity, however my experience tells me community has included the tangible and intangible. The local and not so local. It’s included the mystical and the not so mystical. It’s included the here and now and the yesterday and tomorrow. It actually crosses cultural and communication methods. It’s a connection that is easier to experience than it is to define.
I’ve found loneliness can exist in both the tangible small definable communities and in the less definable more universal and mystical, but I’ve found community within both also. In fact for times of loneliness I feel that loneliness can be propounded in an environment that talks a lot of community in the here and now in “this place” in “this group of people”. For the person who’s really trying to connect, but doesn’t seem to, this can be a very isolating experience.
So if God’s presence is with us and God is with us and we are a part of the whole and as part of the whole we will give and receive and different times and places different aspects of each other and of God himself.
One form is not better or more ideal than the other but rather all forms have value for different people at different stages on their journey. What’s important is that each person can find and experience community in all its fullness whatever that may look like.