Beloved Community

Two posts in one night, so clearly you won’t hear from me again for months. This is the same as the last one, just a different topic. I could have combined the two, but that would have been incredibly long and you may not want to know what I think of both, so you want to skip one. This makes skipping easier, you’re welcome.

The second topic I am supposed to be commenting on is what do I think “Beloved Community” looks like.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this question was Baptist Student Union during my undergraduate career. There was and still is I would say, no where else I felt more safe and at home (then at home, of course, but I don’t think that counts). This was where I first really gave the notion of a call to ministry serious consideration. This is where I was mentored, and encouraged as I discerned that call. It was where I met some of my best friends. They were the people I shared my life with for three years. I transitioned with BSU as an individual and as part of the organization. I went through the growing pains of college as a student, and I went through the growing pains of a leader in a transitioning organization. They were there for me for the mountain tops and valleys, the late night cookout runs, and the early morning breakfasts. They were my support and stability in a time when life so easily becomes unstable. I can honestly say that without a few key people at BSU, I would not have stayed in college.

So after that, I again, went to the theme passage. Colossians 3:12, 14 (NRSV):
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

So what does this mean? This, like a lot of things in the Bible, reminds me of the greatest commandment. Love is the greatest commandment. It bears all, believes all, hopes all, and endures all. Without it, there is not much, if anything left. Same here. Without love, you cannot be compassionate, kind, humble, meek, or patient. It’s not possible. Without love, you cannot be genuinely concerned for another person. Without love, you cannot be kind and good. Without love you cannot be modest in your view of yourself. Without love you cannot be gentle. Without love you cannot tolerate a difference in someone or something else.

You also can’t learn and develop these traits on your own. You cannot love by yourself, not well. You cannot be compassionate without having someone to show compassion to. You cannot be patient, unless you have someone testing your patience.

So what does a beloved community look like to me?
A group of people, that not only gives you the opportunity to learn true compassion, kindness, and patience but also gives you the opportunity to make and watch love become an action.

So again, what do you think a beloved community looks like?

-S

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