So, in preparation for our move, we went through the pantry and cleaned that up today. We did have a few extra boxes of food that we figured we would not use up before the move nor do we want to haul a ton of food down to Nevada. After talking to management, we discovered that there are people in our own building that always need food! Wow! What a wakeup call! So we put the food out and walked away.
Later, as I went to bless someone with a clock, a couple of my neighbors were going through the food as if their life depended on it. They were excited about the blessing and wanted me to take some of it. I had to politely decline the offer but walked away with a gladness in my heart – that people were overjoyed at the blessing – and saddened that people are so desperate for food and other supplies like the school supplies we left out for the parents with kids.
It’s about helping people within the community…
After all, we are told to love our neighbors – friend or foe – as much as ourselves and to do this, we need to love the Lord thy God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:36-40).
My latest class The Spiritual Journey: The Integrated Approach of Henri Nouwen has been about reaching out to other people (outward) while focusing on strengthening the core of who we are (inward) and being able to connect with God through prayer and reading scripture (Upward).
One of the focuses of this journey is reaching out to people within a community, which is anyone that we touch on a daily basis rather it be the neighbor who needs food or the daughter who needs a hug from her parents. We are all connected and we can build “a home and create space for God and for the Children of God…within this discipline are the disciplines of forgiveness and celebration” within the community (Nouwen 1995; Moving from solitude to community to ministry).
Finally, the food and other supplies that we put out are almost gone. Though it was a simple gesture of providing for the needs of our neighbors by giving what we don’t need, there was a sense of community with these neighbors as they took what they needed and sounded as if they were celebrating a blessed gift.
And, that is what community is all about…
So, what can you do to strengthen the community around you?
Though we may not always have what they need, we can still create an atmosphere of community service with each other by reaching out to your neighbor by seeing if they need something even if it is just a smile or words of encouragement (Nouwen 1995; Moving from solitude to community to ministry).
After all, we are connected with each other and we do live in a world that needs a bit more encouragement…