“But I think it necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.” Philippians 2:25. (NIV)
A Word of Hope
I am a bit of a loner. I am very content to go an entire weekend without speaking to anyone – except at church of course. That doesn’t mean I don’t like being around people. I am very social at work and enjoy my job facilitating discussions among large groups. But if left on my own, I’d rather take a walk by myself than socialize. Just ask anyone who knows me well how maddening I can be.
Which brings me to my takeaway from today’s assigned scripture (Philippians 2:25 – 3:1): we need community. No matter my desire to be self-reliant, I cannot become all God intends on my own. I need the help of others. Even Saint Paul needed help now and then.
We seem to have lost the sense of community in the past two years if we ever really had it. There are those who seek to divide, those who feel stronger only when divisions weaken us. I suppose those divisions have always been between us and recent events are bringing them out. Maybe that is a good thing if we are willing to confront the divisions and those who exploit them.
I have observed with admiration the response of New Zealanders to the recent tragic shootings. Unlike here in the US where we tend to make excuses or avoid serious discussion, their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a simple statement full of wisdom and courage. As an online petition nominating her for the Nobel Prize for Peace describes it: “Referring to the 49 or more killed, she said: ‘They are us.’ Not ‘they are one of us,’ or ‘they could have been you or me.’ None of that cautious self-insulating, self-indemnifying vagueness. Simply, they are us.”
During this Lenten season of self-reflection, I need to be reminded that I am not alone. I am a member of a community that struggles together.
God of my Being. I am a member of your human community.