Anthroposophy NYC Blog


(dispatches from social isolation)

First Offerings: Joanna Bergmann and Katherine Vode

Beloved Community

Joanna Bergmann


I am amazed at the array of offerings in the last couple of months that have sprouted. Webinars, study groups, even “partially at home, partially on Zoom retreats” have been created to accommodate our new circumstances. Of course, I miss the greetings, handshakes and hugs, and the in-person “soul glow” when one meets another, but I could never be bored with all of these choices to learn and even connect as best we are able right now.

Last week, the Seminary of the Christian Community of North America adapted a week long seminar to a digital mode. There was a real schedule to follow each day including nature walks with an intention, a Gospel passage to follow, a different “Love is…” statement to live with each day, eurythmy, drawing, and creative writing on a specific biographical theme, and morning lectures.

There were even “break-out” Zoom meetings to randomly encounter 2-5 others and share/discuss our art or creative writing pieces made after a question was asked and/or poem read, to excavate something out of our biography. The theme of the week was “The Beloved Community,” which came from a Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech.

One of the days, we were asked to “go into our biography and find one moment of compassion, a deed of Love, a sacrifice, when we had a glimmer of a ‘New Community’ feeling,” and write for a few minutes about it. Then we were asked to come up with a “song of praise,” a poem, some prose lines, that acknowledged the positive forces that were behind such an act that could give us the power and influence to act out of our “Best Self.” We did not share what our moment of compassion was, but just the creation that came from the recollection.

I will share with you a short explanation of what I was inspired by, and then my creative offering.

One day, many years ago, I was leaving the Rudolf Steiner School, after a day as assistant teacher in the kindergarten. I saw a young student sitting on the stone bench by the door quietly crying. I found out that the matter was that he was sure that his little school bus had passed by and had neglected to pick him up. I found out what had happened with the bus and went to sit with him and talk until the bus could return for him.

This was for me, a very small gesture, and I did not think twice about trying to resolve the problem for him. He was a third grader then. Seven years later, he stopped me in the hallway one day and told me that he remembered the incident and me, and thanked me. In my mind, I thought, “such a small ‘sacrifice,’ such a big impact.”

Here is the offering that I shared with the group gathered at the ”retreat” and now with you. We had fifteen minutes to write, so this is what came forth out of me with no editing then and very little now:


Oh, Beloved Community

If only we knew, with sometimes only the smallest word, gesture, touch, deed

What a large impact we can make

If we recognize the “Christ in Us,”

In our hearts

Who wants to light the fire of compassion.

Let’s find in ourselves the Love, choose it, and nourish it.

Then, even in small ways contribute to building a warmer, more empathetic Community.

Upward Lift of Flowers in Approaching June

Painting by Katherine Vode


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