Saturday, October 18, 2014

Me or We?

Occasionally, God hits me upside the head. There’s no booming voice, but a theme arises from my daily reading - Bible study, blogs and devotions. I can’t miss the repetition and reiteration. This past week the significance of community was obviously a Heaven sent message…via these three authors:  

For most of my life, I practiced a private faith. I prayed mostly for myself or for close friends and family. But in college a friend pointed out to me that in scripture God speaks to people as a group as much as God does to individuals. Jesus too speaks, not only to individuals but to crowds and the disciples as a group. Paul’s letters are, all but one, addressed to communities. As Americans, we tend to imagine that our relationship with God is individual and personal and hasn’t much to do with our neighbors, coworkers, or wider communities.

…we don’t live in isolation; our lives intertwine with the lives of those around us.
Rev. Heidi Haverkamp, Chicago
Disciplines 2014

We are not meant to live as self-reliant, independent operators. God created us for community and interdependence, with him and with others.
Vivian  Whitfield, Nottingham UK
 Encounter with God
Following Jesus means moving out of our privatized, isolated, and self-enclosed worlds into a compassionate engagement with our suffering neighbor. 
Trevor Hudson
A Mile in My Shoes
Upper Room Daily Reflections

This theme of community and connectedness and compassion and interdependence informs my volunteer work with United Way. It’s an intersection of the sacred and secular - Spirit inspired. The author and Trappist monk Thomas Merton sharpens the point:

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.

I have written several prayers related to this subject…