As one walks the streets of the community, large or small, city like or suburbia, it is easy to sense the need of belonging. The telltale signs are there; people engaging in the markets, a helping hand here and there, and even the gift of a parking spot or access to the lane leading to the bridge. It is as if we know we need each other. In is far more intuitive than we realize. It also takes intent if it is something we want to see in moments of stress.
I find myself in a neighborhood becoming increasingly covered in stress. The strict paradigms of the past, shaped and driven by the dominant religious force in the neighborhood (orthodox Jews) is being replaced by the rush to succeed, get ahead, and win at all costs. It would be easy to note the change in cultures, religions, people demographics; but the change is driven by something more and less than these factors. The world is crashing in.
In this context I find myself falling back on three truths.
First, one must find, know, and hold onto one’s God. This isn’t a simple matter of facts, information gathering, or intellectually held belief. This is an experiential journey.
Second, living requires engagement in community. One cannot abandon any part of your community. Family is crucial. Friends are important. Community is relevant.
Third, one’s knowledge of God can, must, reach through and change how one engages with those around us. I know my view of others is different because of my experience with God. This knowledge changes everything. Yet the key point in failure is not the knowledge, it is the actions we take which are linked.
I wake this morning with a prayer on my mind. It is for myself, you and others close to my heart; “God, treat us kindly. You're our only hope. First thing in the morning, be there for us! When things go bad, help us out! You spoke in thunder and everyone ran. You showed up and nations scattered.” (Isaiah 33.2, 3)
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