When I work on a big project, I have a very distinct process. It has been the same process since I was in college and it seems to work well for me. Step 1: view the project in its entirety, Step 2: have a panic attack and want to run away screaming, Step 3: Wonder how in the world I am going to pull it off, Step 4: calm down, Step 5: Break the project into smaller more digestible parts and seek out the appropriate help. But the panic attack is always very distinctly apart of the process and is necessary I believe. It can’t be cut out because it is my reminder that I can’t do this alone. I can’t plan and run a fundraiser alone. I can’t do soup kitchen alone. I can’t run my house alone. And nor should we have to do everything alone. God created humanity to live in community. To work together as a team.
We are not meant to be alone all the time. We are not meant to do his work alone. We are meant to be a family in God. We are meant to work together even when we disagree with one another, which let’s be honest can happen frequently. Anything that’s great happens because of people who work together. The great works of this world happen when people come together placing aside their differences and looking to create peace and unity. Now local church history was something that I became very interested in while in seminary and I wanted to write something for my home church about the period of the church burning, which my family was somehow blamed for back in the early 1800s.
So I went and looked at original church documents very slowly and carefully reading and turning the old musty old pages. But as I searched for the records on the burning of the church I noticed that they were torn out and long ago went missing. So as I did this project, I panicked again. What was I going to do, I already committed to this for a class. So instead, I took oral history from the congregants and family members that had been handed down generation to generation and together we got something that was very special and amazing. The process of building that paper mirrored the reconstruction of the church in the 1800s.
It would not have happened if it weren’t for the cooperation of many people. The church was rebuilt by people from all of the town’s churches coming together donating resources and time. People from the rival Congregational church in town, the catholic church, and the Baptist church in town put aside their theological differences to help a neighbor in need. To rebuild the church into the building that it is today. They shared not only in the labor but they also shared the cost. It took less than a year to rebuild the building and created a unique sense of unity and community in the town that did not exist before.
When God created all that there is he determined that it is not good for us to labor alone, to be alone always. Genesis says, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’” We are not at our happiest, at our most productive without community. In community, with love and respect, we create a more caring and loving world. Together we can and do make a difference in the lives of others. We are meant to live in harmony, all peoples together. We are meant to work together for the betterment of the world around us. We are meant to seek spiritual enlightenment together united, by our faith in God and each other.
Paul taught that our backgrounds, our differences don’t matter when we come through those doors each Sunday morning. Our desire to know Christ, our desire to seek inspiration, our desire to seek community in God’s name is what is most important. Our political standings may make a difference in other areas of our lives. Our nationality, race, and gender may matter to someone else. But Christ called us to live in love and unity. We are united by love and are called to live in reconciliation with all peoples. We are challenged to seek a better world, through our united work for those in need. Paul wrote of this in Ephesians and extensively throughout his letters. We are called to place aside differences that call us to hate and instead we are encouraged to seek the peace being offered in Christ. Because together we can do more good then we can do divided and causing one another harm. Thomas Merton, who wrote Love and Living in the 20th century wrote this, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another”. So we come together in community seeking meaning, seeking purpose, and seeking to experience one place in this world that can offer a sense of peace. And together we can offer that to all people here, just by welcoming them and giving them the opportunity to live a life of forgiveness and purpose together with us.
All that stuff we see on the news, in the papers, all those fears, the hate, the violence all of that fades with time, all of that is based in the falsehoods of society. They don’t build a greater world, by tearing it down in division. William Shakespeare wrote, “Time’s glory is to calm contending kings, to unmask falsehood and bring truth to light”. Even in the 1500s, Shakespeare could see through the foolishness of hate. He could see through the violence and upheaval of his world, a world that struggled with plague and endless war between kingdoms and abusive powers. He could see that in the end truth would win. The truth of human unity, of the love of Christ in our lives and world, will shine through if we allow it to.
We just need to look towards the love of God to bring us together. We need to place aside our fears, our worries, our judgments, to seek a higher calling in life. To seek a community that will help us to build a better world where people are lifted up and supported and all people are loved and valued. A world where all people discover the meaning of life together. For together we can do great things. Together we build churches, together we feed the hungry, together we educate the people, and together we can bring an end to hate. We are called to seek the love of Christ and to reach out in care and love to those who are in need providing safe spaces for them to feel welcomed at last. So this week contemplate how we are being called to spread the love of Christ even more fully with each day?
 Genesis 2: 18, NRSV.
 Thomas Merton, Love and Living. 20th century.
 William Shakespeare, 16th century.
(based on Genesis 2: 15-24 and Ephesians 2: 11-22)