These wonderful insights into the spirituality of community building come to us from Owen Bagley, one of our thoughtful interns.
What began as a prayer group on Brookland Park Boulevard, today continues as members of the Northside neighborhood come together to pray for their community.
In honor of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity the group reflected on the meaning of Christian unity. Is Christ’s body divided? What does it look like to have unity without uniformity? Is Christian diversity important or beneficial?
With a multitude of Christian traditions represented, the members of the prayer group discussed the aspects of faith which each tradition contributes to the larger body of Christ. In this eye opening discussion we each shared how we learn, benefit, and grow spiritually through conversations and interactions with one another. Each tradition brings a unique element to the table, all of which further and strengthen the Christian body.
In our Richmond communities, diversity is ever present. Yet through prayer and conversation, this group of Northside neighbors has found value in such a blessing.
As a student in seminary, I found this discussion to be particularly applicable to my life. One of the members of the prayer group shared an enlightening metaphor of the Christian body. He said that when we reflect on our bodies, what we often notice are the cuts and bruises, the scrapes and the infections. These areas of the body, however small they might be, often draw the majority of our attention. Of course, we cannot ignore the wounds our bodies receive; wounds need healing. Yet, they often consume our focus and our energy, so much so that we sometimes forget the larger picture. We forget about the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tissues all working in unison to give life.
This description that he shared turned me toward my own life. Where do I direct my eyes? Where is my focus concentrated when I look at my community?
Am I fixated on the skinned knee?
Or am I paying attention to the living, growing, thriving body?
How do we see our neighborhoods?
Do we see the body of Christ as alive and active?
How would our communities transform if we viewed them as functioning bodies?
Would our actions be different if we thought of our community as individual and distinct parts of one large body?
If this prayer group is something you would be interested in joining or if you would like to find out more about how you can foster this kind of Christian unity in your community, please contact Wendy McCaig at Embrace Richmond at email@example.com