John Bonney of Springfield, OR, USA
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,[a]and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2
Each weekday morning I go to one of our civic swimming pools. The front doors open at 5:00 a.m., but the two inner doors that give us access to the pools, lanes, and boards open at 5:30. So I stand with others between the two sets of doors and wait 10-15 minutes before entering. I have come to know and respect that small community of people. Community is any group of people, large or small, that share life together and respect the rights and privileges of each other. I love each person in that social group “between the doors,” because they are my kin. Community is characterized by the tendency to reach out and accept others. The individuals in this group stand figuratively with their front facing outward in welcome.
Community should provide the basics to every human within it. In our larger communities, every person should have the basics of education, food, clothing, health care, housing, and support for life. This should be a given. I shall not judge who is worthy of such benefits of society. As the text of a hymn states, “…All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place…” (Marty Haugen, “All Are Welcome,” \xc2\xa91994 GIA Publications, Inc., Community of Christ Sings 276).
Although we have poorly used it, this earth is able to provide for the inhabitants. Ideally, all 7.4 billion of us should be able to live well on this planet. Then what is the problem? There is always a smaller portion of the population that wants it all. Taking more than one’s share destroys the earth’s ability to provide for the needs of all: human beings, animals, trees, and flowers. All refers to every fish and the water in which it lives. All includes the oceans, lakes, rivers, and skies. All refers to the very air we breathe.
Community is when the greater good is done to fill the basic needs of every person, every animal, flora and fauna, and all basic resources. Do more than celebrate the blessings of community. Care for the world, as a global community, and take only your small share.
Peace, be still (Mark 4:39).
In the contemplative tradition, silent prayer is about cultivating a quality of inner stillness. You may visualize the story of Jesus calming the storm as a way of entering into this quality of prayer. Notice how churned up the waters of your soul are currently. As you breathe deeply, imagine a sacred stillness forming within you. What might it look like to engage all your relationships and daily tasks from this place of inner stillness? As you move through your day, notice when you feel stirred up and when you experience inner calm. Take note of patterns and themes. Invite all of your noticing into prayer as you continue to grow deeper in God as the source of your life and action.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.