We need community ties.
This past week has been an amazing reminder of how relevant the bible always is. My mind is racing with all the ways I want to apply its wisdom to the issues of the day, but a scattered few is all there is time for here. It’s been a tough slog in Canada, between shots ringing through our parliamentary buildings and city streets, violent beatings to death in a Montreal suburb where women must once again be very careful where they walk, especially if they are alone, Jian Gomeshi and the kerfuffle over at CBC. It has also been a tough one here at St. Andrew’s where we have more and more illnesses and people going through seasons in life that most of us would rather avoid.
In the beginning He made them, in His image, Male and Female. It wasn’t good for him to be alone.
Difficult times require not just faith but community. We need the communities we live in to provide everything from moral support to soup and common sense. Community let’s us know we are not alone, we are not the first or only people to go through what we are going through, and we are not to blame. Most importantly, community reminds us that no matter we are still loved and still have dignity.
Some people argue that community can be stifling, that when people know each other deeply they always need to control each other, and pushed to the extreme example of this are many and sad. Still, I think there is something to be said for openness and accountability in community and I wish we had more of it. I can’t help but marvel that only now, after a celebrity has fallen, are we having a conversation about sexual practices that have been at the center of several mega-selling books for years. What does it say about our community, our public dialogue, that only now are we interested in talking truthfully and with sincere engagement about ideas that have been percolating in our society for a few years now? What does it say that some women fear to talk about something so important to them, stifled by the demons of Twitter, Facebook, and shame? How disconnected are we? Should we be having group sessions with many people who were surprised at what it felt like to put into practice some of what they had been reading? If so, where did our communal wisdom go? And why aren’t we having those meetings?
In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,
Where is the tenderness? Have we really forgotten such basic truths in this place we call home? I don’t think so. It’s in the people holding hands together in mourning over a lost soldier, it’s in the little kids reminding their parents to pray for the “bad guy,” it’s in the way many men and women come together to fight against violence and abuse, especially inside the homes of our land. It’s in the way people in this congregation tell each other their stories over a cup of tea when they hear of someone going through something they have experienced.
Community is a built in desire and we ignore it at our own peril. As the dialogue continues about these events in the next few days I implore you to hold dear the proverb (10:10) “He who winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin,” because honesty, integrity, and vulnerability need to be our keywords as we seek to recover what has been lost.