Once in awhile you’ll read a book or watch a film, and think That’s It! That’s humankind at it’s best! And you let out a big SIGH of relief knowing that all hope for society is not lost. Good still exists!
Last night might have been one of those nights. I was fortunate enough to catch the broadway musical Come From Away. It’s based on the true story of 7,000 plane passengers and a small Canadian town whom were destined to meet on the night of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. As it happened, dozens of planes flying that day were forced to land in the remote town of Newfoundland. Frightened passengers from across the world were ushered into the hands of strangers who scurried to accommodate their unplanned guests. During the 4-5 day layover, an interim community emerged that would forever change many lives. The story is a beautiful celebration of humankind offering a hand up, despite the fear and circumstances pulling them down.
I am reminded that a community, any community, has the potential to possess a powerful bond when they lead with love. That’s what the Newfoundlanders did. And it’s exactly what Jesus asks of us - to love our neighbor. To be in communion.
His last plea to his disciples is to “become perfectly one”.
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” – John 17:22-23
Human beings aren’t created the same. Just like a foot is different than an arm. Or a kidney is different than a liver. Differences are important. But they’re also ineffective if they can’t function in conjunction with one another.
Today we like to use labels. We use them as part of our identity. He’s a Lawyer. She’s a Mormon. As if one word, or sentence, can summarize a person. We focus on the “what”. What is your faith? What is your political affiliation? What is your profession? Yet we seldom get to the more valuable, more substantial, question of “why”.
The answer to the “why” is often what we bond over.
In 2018, the most popular hashtag on Instagram was #love. LOVE. That four-letter word. It seems to me that love is something we’re all searching for, but seemingly can’t get enough of. Which leads me back to the topic of community. At the base of every good community is love.
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other.” --- Romans 12:8
I wish to be known for my love. But, of course, this doesn’t comes easy to me. I get hung up on fear, judgement, and assumption. I know my flaws. And yet I keep trying to be better because here’s the thing. In a world where we feel so powerless I know I have power over one thing. Me. My love.
And good communities are based on love.