It struck me recently that the formation of new Christian communities is like the formation of rain in two ways. First, a droplet cannot form without a microscopic bit of dust in the atmosphere. Water molecules adhere to and form around them. So with new parishes. There must be a center, a nucleus, for disconnected sinners to adhere and to gather around. That nucleus is the true community-generating word of salvation. Where it is preached, God gathers His people. And since that word lives and dwells within us, those most likely to gather around us are those closest to us. That means our neighborhoods – yours and mine – can be future parish communities. As God re-forms these communities, people could be walking to church once again.
But there is also another analogy. “Theorists and experimentalists understand this progression, but they cannot agree on how long it takes. ‘When you estimate the typical time you need to grow from micron- to millimeter-sized droplets, it would take maybe ten or fifteen hours,’ says Gregory Falkovich of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. ‘And empirically people noticed that often rain starts long before this–say in half an hour'” (http://focus.aps.org/story/v7/st14). So with the re-emergence of Christian communities. It is a phenomenon shrouded in mystery. And we may not realize that they are re-emerging until the droplets suddenly form in conversions.
Jesus taught a parable on a similar analogy in Mark 4:26-29. The Kingdom of God is at work today, renewing and re-forming true communities. Let us tirelessly work for conversions and for new Christian communities, believing the One who calls those things that are not as though they were (Rom. 4:17).