The readings this morning transported me all the way back to Taizé, France where there is a monastery of world-renowned importance. I had the privilege of spending a couple continuing education weeks there almost 16 years ago. I got to interview Brother Roger, the founder of the community, and really live in the midst of them for a while. I was honored. Some of the key words you would hear over and over again from Brother Roger were “reconciliation” and “community”.
People these days are hungry for togetherness. I deal with people on a daily basis who are profoundly lonely. What we have seen is that having a family does not guarantee avoiding loneliness, no more than solitude necessarily leads to loneliness.
In both our New Testament readings, there are examples of the Christian’s value of community and togetherness in new and profound ways. Jesus blesses the little children. Paul speaks of bearing one another’s burdens.
For Paul, being together in community means something much deeper than restoring a transgressor, and righting a few wrongs, but of a mutual responsibility and forbearance. Being part of the family of faith means sowing seeds of community and responsibility into the fabric of our lives – so that we reap from the Spirit.
Today is a great day. This week has the potential to be a great week. For wrapped up in this season of thanksgiving is the ability to make it a season of togetherness. And this year is an opportunity to do it in a new and special way – to mend fences and experience the joy of giving thanks. This is not mere lip service, but a call to the renewal that Paul speaks about and the blessing that Jesus speaks of.
We are called to bless one another. In doing so we value each other in our mutual brokenness. It is not “I will love you if you fix all your flaws,” but “I love you despite all your flaws.” This is the blessing we give to children, and the blessing we are called to give to others as well. In that blessing carries great power, but also great responsibility, for the two way street of Christian brotherhood and sisterhood means that blessing will come back 10 fold.