Community. We all want it. We seem hard-wired to crave it. We long for a feeling of fellowship, and yet with humanity so intricately diverse, it seems impossible that we could ever attain it. So, how do we create a sense of community when we as individuals are so uniquely different?
Last night, my daughter and I watched “The Muppets – A Christmas Carol,” one of the many renditions of Dickens’ Christmas classic. In this version, Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) comes in and blesses each one of his employees with a very large bucket of coal for the fire so that they can keep warm while working for him for the rest of the winter.
I asked my daughter, “Did Scrooge ask them what they believed before he gave them his gift?” “No,” she said. “Did he ask them how they came to be there, how they came to work for him? Did he ask if they were Christian, Jewish or an atheist?” “No.” No, he didn’t. And neither should we. It is not necessary for us to understand everything about each other to create and enjoy a sense of community. We simply need to know that each one of us is made in the image of God and that we hold a spark of the Divine within. We simply need to let the love of Christ shine and bless those we can, when we can, focusing on what unites us rather than what divides us. When asked why he was helping his neighbors, one man responded, “‘I was inspired by a powerful God who cares about every life, whether they live in luxury or poverty.’” *
God uses ordinary people like you and me, like my daughter, to transform the world. What will you do? What will you do when presented with an opportunity to change the world, to better or help your fellow man? Will you seize the opportunity, no matter how to small, or dismiss it? Your simple act of community could be the key that opens the door for that person to embrace a sense of community.
We pray that God use us and bless us, everyone, to transform the world – one life, one community at a time.
“Into the widening and shameful gap between rich and poor step[s] [the] church – not just giving charity to soothe the pain, but establishing factories, opening stores and restaurants that offer a living wage and empower persons to climb out of poverty. Community gardens springing up [in place] of abandoned [buildings and] lots.”*
“Keep loving each other like family.” – Hebrews 13:1 (CEB)
* Dale Clem, Advent – A Calendar of Devotions, 2016.