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The “hand” or the “foot” would be happy to do its work if the “eye” or the “head” would simply say, at regular intervals, how much they are needed and appreciated. […]

God has given to every human being a special gift of personal mystery which is part of that person’s inner freedom. This gift is far more valuable than anyone’s ability to produce goods or services. It is called forth and enhanced by love. It needs to be reinforced by appreciation.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 112

Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another #shorts post.

Today I present another topic from Flowers in the Desert by Demetrius Dumm. I’m immensely enjoying this amazing book and there’s much to write about in it. Soon I’ll be finished with it though and I’ll write up a book review of it. I definitely recommend this book, Flowers in the Desert.

Today’s topic is about Community, and the importance of it. It’s also about the need to value, respect, and appreciate each member of the Community. We are all on this Spiritual journey of Christianity together—no one can do it alone, not all the way at least. And Jesus didn’t live His life alone either, that’s not what He showed by example.

Christianity at the end of the day is a social religion. Its teachings in large part deal with how we treat other people. To fully live out our Christian Faith we must deal with other people. We can’t have our full Faith experience by living in a remote cave our whole life.

Furthermore, Jesus and the teachings of the New Testament show the importance of Christians being together in Community. That’s how we honor God and serve others the best.

But a Community is also like a body, and has a health of its own. A Community can be strong or weak, sick or healthy. What happens when the individual parts that make up a Community aren’t taken care of?? And how do we prevent that from happening?? These are important questions for any Community-builder. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So let’s get right into it.

Many Parts, One Body

Dumm starts out explaining we need other people on our Spiritual journey. This is how Jesus made the journey; we can’t do it alone. I imagine most of us understand this well. Following the Christian Path is tough, and we’re going to stumble again and again. But if we have others with us they can help us back to our feet. That way we can do the same for them.

The journey of faith is a very personal adventure but it cannot be made alone. […] To make the biblical journey, then, is to walk with others, caring for them and being supported by them. This was the way that Jesus made the journey; there is no other way.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 109

The New Testament also drives home the importance of fellowship with other Christians. This isn’t a solitary Path we’re on; to do it right we must Walk in groups. As we know, Paul compared Christians, the church, to being different parts of one body in 1 Corinthians 12. Together we all make up the Body of Christ.

And the Body metaphor is an important one. One human body (or even an animal body) is made of miraculously diverse organs and systems. We have eyes, bones, muscles, nerves, internal organs that work together, and so on and so forth. Each part of the body is precious to the body, because each part has its own function that the other parts can’t do. The eyes can’t digest food, for example. You get the idea. Each unique and diverse part of the body comes together to form one system, an individual human or animal.

(12) Christ is just like the human body—a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body, even though there are many. (13) We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jew or Greek, or slave or free, and we all were given one Spirit to drink. (14) Certainly the body isn’t one part but many. […] (20) But as it is, there are many parts but one body. (21) So the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” or in turn, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 20-21 (CEB)

Have You Thanked Your Eyes today??

So we know that each part of the body—each person who makes up the Body of Christ—is unique and important. Each one has a unique role that only they can perform. So what happens if parts of the Body are disrespected or unappreciated?? What happens if people in our church, our Christian Community, are ignored, overlooked, neglected, or abused??

If a particular member feels that it does not belong to the whole, it is simply because the other members have not shown their appreciation for it and for its contribution. It has been taken for granted and therefore ignored as if it had no needs of its own. This is clearly contrary to God’s purpose for he intended that each member should receive the attention it needs from the other members. If that attention is lacking, there cannot fail to be division in the body. […] But when there is mutual respect and concern and thoughtfulness the resulting harmony is a joy on earth and praise in heaven!

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 111

If some people are overlooked and neglected, division is inevitable. But with mutual respect for all, there is harmony. How can we hold on to that mutual respect?? How can we preserve it??

We preserve it by loving all the members of the Community, loving them all with no exceptions. We make sure everyone feels respected, appreciated, acknowledged, seen and heard. We make sure everyone feels valued. This is not about giving out compliments for the sake of compliments. That would be fake and serves no purpose. This is about appreciating, respecting, and valuing everyone in the Community for who they are, precious miracles of God. Appreciating them for what they do definitely comes behind the first.

The “hand” or the “foot” would be happy to do its work if the “eye” or the “head” would simply say, at regular intervals, how much they are needed and appreciated. […]

God has given to every human being a special gift of personal mystery which is part of that person’s inner freedom. This gift is far more valuable than anyone’s ability to produce goods or services. It is called forth and enhanced by love. It needs to be reinforced by appreciation.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 112

A Matter of Communal Life or Death

Making sure everyone in the Community feels valued and respected is no small matter. When people don’t feel valued, they lose their self-esteem and can even lose their sense of being loved by God. They stop feeling like a unique and amazing walking miracle, but instead feel boring like they have nothing to offer (hence why they’re overlooked). The result is they become more and more introverted and retreat into their shell. When they retreat and withdraw from the eyes of the Community, trying to hide, they stop blessing the Community with their unique gifts. That entire Christian Community suffers as a result.

So, as Demetrius Dumm says, making sure all members of a community feel valued, loved, and respected is a matter of life and death for a community.

This sense of one’s personal mystery can be very weak in situations where love and appreciation are withheld. Such a person is deeply impoverished. He suffers from low self-esteem, is unsure of himself and cannot believe that he could be valued or cherished by others. He will therefore be experienced as a boring and uninteresting person who has lost his capacity to surprise others. This is a terrible waste for he really has a gift but it has remained undiscovered with the result that he is unhappy and the community to which he belongs is deprived of his unique contributions. Showing gratitude and appreciation is not therefore a matter of personal whim or convenience; it is a matter of life and death.

Demetrius Dumm, Flowers in the Desert, Page 112-113

So what can we take away from this?? Let’s remember we need to make sure all members of the Community feel valued, respected, appreciated, seen and heard. Then, they’ll enrich the Community with their unique gifts and talents only they have. They’ll be able to do this because they feel appreciated for who they are as Children of God first. The whole Christian Community, the Body of Christ in that place, will only benefit as a result. Being good to everyone around us is good for us all.

The journey of Faith can’t be made alone. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot we can do on our own, and many times when the Spirit leads us to be alone. A good amount of time alone is also great for our Spiritual health. But we also need Community, because this journey is tough and we need the support from others. And since that’s a need of ours, it’s a need of others too. We need help and support from others on the journey so that we can give out the same in return. Help others when they’re weak, receive help when we’re weak, that’s how it goes.

Jesus did not show us an example of making His journey alone. Remember that. He had many followers, and traveled with the Twelve Apostles. He had their help, support, and devotion. Although Jesus withdrew at times to be alone, He always returned in short order to be with the people.

We need others on our journey, and they need us. We all need each other. So it’s critical we make sure to take care of each other, take care of each precious person in the Community. If we don’t, we all suffer.

That’s it for #shorts Part 47.

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