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by Amanda Watson

In one of the training sessions for Safeguarding God’s Children, the speaker, a Bishop, is talking about one important safety rule. He says, “Remember we always go two by two.” And I am reminded that I am always describing my Education for Ministry group, as my 3 o’clock in the morning friends. Meaning that these are the people that I know if I call at 3 o’clock in the morning they do not question me, they simply respond, “Where are you? I am on my way.” Or that old hymn, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing… sing praises to his name, he forgets not his own.” As Christians, we go about this world together—in community.

What I have learned is that community does not mean we are a homogeneous group. It means that we are a diverse group from different backgrounds, different experiences, and different perspectives; but, a community with one magnificent common characteristic – love. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things endures all things.” (I Cor. 13:7) As a Christian community, we are a group of diverse, unique individuals bound by a love that celebrates diversity, empowers each individual, and listens to each voice. Each member is vital to the strength and power of the community. It is like the old tale of the king that lay dying. The king gathered his family around his bed to bid goodbye to those he loves. He gave each person a small twig and asked that they break it. Each did most easily. Then he asked that the twigs be gathered together and requested the strongest of the group to break the bound twigs. Of course, the twigs together as one could not be broken. That is how he wants his children to be—together, as one that cannot be broken.

As we begin to see the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, we stop, look around, and see God’s powerful hand in this most wonderous earth and give thanks for this most gracious gift of community. We see each of us whose gifts we, the community, rely upon to complete this oneness to be a place where, as our rector often says, grace abounds. A community of love that is not only strengthened by its diverseness but by the openness to seek, receive and empower all God’s incredible creation.

Let us gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing… “he forgets not his own.”

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