Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. What do you think of when you hear “Blessings of Community”? This is one of Community of Christ’s Enduring Principles by which we strive to live. I’ve been face to face with differences that together make the world, and I find myself calling to mind “Blessings of Community”. What does Blessings of Community mean to you?
There are many aspects to consider as part of blessings of community. My first response today would be that it expresses the peaceful existence within our community that benefits from the combined gifts we bring. Community of Christ offers this statement, “We value our connections and share a strong sense of trust in and belonging with one another—even if we never have met.” I value this connection and the sense of community it brings. However, I also recognize that we are all so different and it is in those differences where we bring our together the blessings of community.
When, for you, have the blessings of community felt like the workings of cogs in a machine, well-oiled and working in synchronization with each other? For many years our church community in Washington, DC, has invested our collective effort to organize a yard sale where the proceeds go to a local organization that provides services and housing for the homeless. It requires many hands to sort through the items, price them, organize a support staff, and add a bake sale and luncheon. The last yard sale was pre-COVID and I can remember pausing as we prepared for the sale to notice our multiple “cogs” (aka, “people”) working together to put together this event. Even more importantly, there was a moment during the yard sale where I also observed the people who were milling around looking at the merchandise. I loved seeing us reach out to the community. People came through the doors of the church and met us, talked with us, and had an opportunity to work with us to help serve the homeless. As we are told in Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Together as a community, there is so much we can accomplish. And while we are working as a community, we are creating relationships with one another. We are blessings of community.
I challenge all of us to stop a moment and look around and see the blessings of community each day. We belong to one another – even if we never have met.
Dear God, We come in gratitude for the many people in our lives, those we know well and those whom we have never met. Help us to see how much you love each and every person. Help us acknowledge the intrinsic value of those who bring different gifts and talents to our world. May we pursue a life that sees beyond the boundaries that separate us, and sees beyond the cultures and economics that make up the differences in the way we live. May we have open hearts and open arms so we may be part of the blessings of community. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.