Whether we want it or not, one of the Wismers gives a daily census report from Sarasota Memorial Hospital. (Not hard to guess which Wismer it is.) There are a total of 839 hospital beds.  As of today the patient census is 772 and of the 772 beds the COVID-positive patient count is 250. (That’s like 32 %.) The unvaccinated COVID-positive patients is 89%.  So this got me thinking about community. What is it? What makes for a good community? On my thinking chair, I realized community has a variety of classifications and definitions. Broadly speaking, I could say there are communities of people who share the same interest or passion. Communities of people trying to bring about change. Communities of people brought together by geographic boundaries. Communities of people in the same profession or undertaking the same activities. Communities of people brought together by external events or situations. The notion of community is expansive. But what about us? For us, as followers of Christ, the notion of community derives from the biblical Greek word koinonia. The first usage of the word koinonia is found in Acts 2:42 – “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship. The categories of community previously identified – interest or passion, change, geography, activity or situation are indeed valid forms of community, but I would suggest those categories do not have the depth and richness in meaning as it is used in scripture.  Koinonia embraces the embodiment of purpose, the action of sharing, the presence of intimacy and the giving as well as the receiving of love. William Barclay, the Scottish Bible scholar, said, “Love is the binding power which holds Christ’s community together. The tendency of people is to become distant; but love is the one bond that will hold them together in unbreakable koinonia – fellowship – community.” I’m grateful for community and the bond we share.

Scripture Reading: John 15:12-13
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Reflection Questions:
What makes for a good community?
How are you strengthening the bonds of love?
Who do you need to love more?

Prayer: Holy God, keep me mindful of those who gather around my table and let us be nourished and nurtured in body, mind and spirit; strengthen my bonds with others so we can share life more deeply together. Amen