You find yourself amidst the grandeur of God’s creation. You are sharing this space with others – some who you know and others who are unfamiliar … at least for now.
As time progresses you are invited to share your story, and you are invited to listen deeply to the stories of those around you.
But it is not all talking.
There are activities and tasks to undertake which, in their own way, deepen your understanding and increase your appreciation for those with whom you share space in God’s creation.
And then, in a relatively short period of time, you begin to feel quite connected with all those gathered – you feel in community with them. It is a community based on mutual respect and care for all of God’s creation. And while there is a great sense of diversity in the group, all are treated as equals, as companions. It is a community of the beloved – a Beloved Community.
In one shape or another, I have been blessed to be a part of, or observe from a close proximity, the forming and living out of Beloved Community. Most recently, I witnessed our ECMN Quest Camp live into becoming a Beloved Community. I would strongly encourage you to read all about it here and to see the pictures here. If you know a young person or adult who was a part of camp, please ask them to share their story of being part this Beloved Community.
Likewise, I was blessed to be a part of a Beloved Community in the House of Bishops at General Convention. Now, to some who are not a part of either one of these gatherings, it might be hard to imagine the House of Bishops being a Beloved Community. And while it is true that the House of Bishops, like most communities, has had some challenging times in its history, I am here to tell you that presently, it is a very health community – a Beloved Community. People share the joys and challenges of their lives, and compassionately and respectfully listen to one other. Yes, there is diversity of opinion and perspective on a whole host of things, yet all are treated as equals, as companions.
Finding ourselves living into the Beloved Community – whether that be at camp, in our faith community or in our neighborhood – blesses us with living in that time and space in which – as Jesus put it – ‘the Kingdom of God has come near’.
My hope and prayer for all of us is that any who have been blessed to experience Beloved Community will invite and join with others in creating more opportunities to live into the Beloved Community that God is calling us to be.
To find more resources to deepen your journey towards becoming the Beloved Community, click here.