John Bonney of Springfield, OR, USA
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake. -Psalm 23:1-3
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.
“Awake, my soul!” (Psalm 57:8)
The Prayer of the Heart
Early Christian disciples desired to take seriously the scripture mandate to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The prayer of the heart invites us to pray “continuously” by repeating and returning to a prayer phrase planted for intentional reflection and deepening. Choose a word or phrase (from scripture, hymnody, or personal reflection) that has meaning for you. The Jesus Prayer is one form of the prayer of the heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:35-43). Invite this simple phrase to repeat in your heart throughout the day, awakening your soul to God’s presence.
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.