The power of community: Finding and being the light in dark times
Questions often arise in times of crisis — how do we make sense of the chaos? How can we cope with uncertainty, anxiety and fear? Where do we find hope in times such as these?
Community is what is what we need now. When people come together in unity, the darkness cannot overtake the light; it is the light that overtakes the darkness.
Simple acts of servitude toward others become infectious — the good kind of infectious.
Do things for others. Hold the door for someone. Smile at strangers (yes, they can see you smile even while wearing a mask!). Ask how someone is doing and actually listen to their response. Do for others as you would have them do for you.
It is not just those in authoritative positions or healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines who make a difference in this big world. Regardless of the job, title or role a person holds, they are important. You are important.
Many years ago, Jesus Christ verbalized a desire for his beloved Israel:
“…You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) (The Message)
This passage is calling the Israel of his day to be Israel. Indeed, God had called Israel to be a light, but Israel was behaving like everyone else, with its power politics, its factional squabbles, its militant revolutions (NT Wright). Isn’t that a familiar theme, especially with today’s news headlines?
Israel was the people through whom God intended to shine His bright light into the world’s dark corners, not simply to be the same people trying to find their way through the darkness.
Community is what is what we need now.
Like Israel, we, the people of this great nation, have the ability to shine light in these dark times with single acts of kindness.
A worthy goal to strive toward might be to enhance the common good of your fellow human beings. In the past few months, much of the news has been alienating and divisive. These stories have overshadowed the encouraging and uplifting stories taking place all around us.
I recall recently the story of one young man, just 7 years of age, raising $1700 to buy food for those who had no food. What a wonderful demonstration of light shining on the darkness!
So, what can you do to make sense of the chaos? What can you do to help, to heal, to cope?
Every day, focus and think about the ways in which you can touch people — and follow through with those positive thoughts by putting them into action.
In spite of the scary things in this world, remember that there is also love, encouragement, peace and joy. We all share a common humanity, so let us shift our focus and be light in a dark time.
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