Hebrews 12:1 - Community Connectedness
As I lay in bed this morning, I started thinking about the interconnectedness of people and how throughout the ages, writers have drawn people together by making connections and inspiring their readers with things done by people of the past. Writer's draw these two groups of people who share something in common, but are separated by time and space into a community. When you look at it up close, the people may find themselves to be very different, but on some level, they are connected and therefore part of a community.
I couldn't help but think of all the times in the Bible where the writers remind the readers of those that have gone before, to make sure their accomplishments and mistakes are remembered and held up to help the reader navigate their own life path. One of my favorites is Hebrews Chapter 12, verse 1.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,The proceeding chapter goes through a list of people of faith and what they accomplished by their faith; the trials they endured and overcame because of their faith; the fact that through faith they looked at a goal that was beyond their lifetime and acted toward it.
Then comes verse one of chapter 12 and it draws us into community with these people and calls us to be inspired by their accomplishments and do likewise. In community with these people, we should see the end goal and live a life towards that outcome. To trade the future and long term goodness and harmony for the world at large for the instant pleasures of today for ourselves.
This is not an easy task, but a worthwhile one. One I try to choose each day. Yes, it is a daily choice to do this. Each and every day opportunities come up for us to choose a path that is easy or would bring instant pleasure that would direct us away from a future of goodness, love, and peace for the world.
Since June is Gay Pride month, I couldn't help but start thinking about the connectedness that I feel to the LGBTQ community and realize that it is very similar in nature.
If I look around at the people I interact with on a daily basis, they are mostly straight. I don't find myself spending a great deal of time in "gay" establishments, although I certainly have a proclivity to places and people that are gay-friendly (after all, who likes to spend there time in and around hostile places and people). What I do find is a strong tie of connection for me with the LGBTQ community. I desire for this community to feel at one with all of society and particular desire to build bridges between the LGBTQ and Christian communities (which is why I created Gay Christian Bridges). While I don't intersect with that community on a daily basis, I do find myself drawn to those "family events" that bring that community together. Last Sunday I walked in the AIDS walk. Personally I don't have, nor do I have friends that have AIDS, but it is something that has had great impact of the LGBTQ community and I want to do my part to support my community. Today, I will attend the Pride service at Arlington Street Churchfollowed by the Pride parade in Boston. It is not a community I hang out with frequently, but I feel the connection to the community and am inspired by people in it.
Just as the writer of Hebrews held up people who acted on faith towards an end goal of love, goodness, and peace, the LGBTQ community has people who have striven for an end goal of love, goodness, and peace.
I respect the members of my community that have gone before me and have stood up for the right to love the person of their choice, even if when those around them have not understood that love (just as Noah chose to build an ark when those around him did not understand what it was). I respect those who have chosen and stood up for being honest about who they were as a person, rather than hide in society and be what society wanted (just as Moses refused to deny his Jewish heritage even though he had been adopted into the house of the Pharaoh). These people saw a future where there was love, peace, goodness...and lived a life to bring it about, even though it was not in their lifetime.
Do you see a future? Are you willing to live a life to bring it about, even if that requires hardship or persevering through persecution? Will you be an agent that brings the world of love that God has painted for us?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)