Communities, especially large ones, function, even thrive, because of the fibers which bind them together. As I move between the two very different communities, especially when it comes to size, I find the large and the small share the same binding threads. Unless a community is held together through the values of a shared ethos they will destruct, sooner rather than later. In order to thrive, the values must be group centric, nurturing the core and the whole, shaping the structures, determining the measure of success, and even being the litmus and points of accountability. Values are never nebulous. Their heart is defined by words such as compassion, mercy, fairness and formed through shared experiences, a feeling of oneness, and the shared willingness to examine, challenge, and hold accountable.
When I think of New York, Redlands, London, Walton on Thames, and even Bangalore, I find myself in awe of the sacrifices of the people integral to the expression of these values and experiences. Without them life would be totally different! Can you imagine a time where a greater power was found “withdrawing police and protection, judges and courts, pastors and teachers, captains and generals, doctors and nurses, and, yes, even the repairmen and jacks-of-all-trades”? (Isaiah 3.2, 3) Life would be chaos. Everything we know as normal would not exist. If you extend the vista you would not find firemen, sanitation workers, or public transport.
These are fibers which provide environments for each to grow, flourish, and contribute. They are held together by an extraordinary number of decisions made each day by those involved. It is the willingness expressed when it is hot, cold, or in some way miserable which gives us a canvas on which to express life. They are as strong as the choice made by you or me to reflect the same “values” and provide the same “experiences”. We are integral pieces in our communities. There are no decisions to be involved; we are because we “be”. The only decision we face rests in the values we express and experiences shared. Today’s our expression.
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