Have you heard about the man who walked into a southern restaurant for breakfast? Having spent most of his time in Michigan, he never had been quite clear on the nature of grits. So he asked the waitress, “What exactly is a grit?”
Her response was classic. “Honey,” (I told you they were in the South) she replied. “They don’t come by themselves.”
Grits don’t exist in isolation from one another. They don’t live on an island. Each grit is a piece of the whole. You can’t order a grit. It’s a package deal.
God made us for community. Call it a clan, a tribe, a network, a church, a family—call it whatever you like. It’s all for one; one for all. It’s not good to be alone. Like grits, people “don’t come by themselves.”
I have a friend in Georgia who signs most all of his correspondence with the Hebrew word “shalom.” Every time I see it, I like how it makes me feel. Typically it’s translated “peace,” but it’s more than that. It is the connectedness of all things—the webbing together of God, humans, and creation. Throughout the OT the prophets keep trying to get us to imagine what it would be like if all things were so connected in joy and delight, in justice and love.
In such a world all children would be safe, all marriages strong. Picture those with much helping those with little, people of different race and religion holding hands together. Disagreements would be settled with peace and civility. No one would be lonely or afraid. Every time human beings touched one another it would be with love and respect. Imagine divorce courts and shelters for the abused empty, battlefields at rest. Churches would never split.
One day it will be just like that.
In the meantime, we follow Christ. We worship, pray, serve, witness, work—for the building of the Kingdom. We live in a community of nations, of faiths, of people groups—diverse and unique, all loved of God. Admittedly, all are far less than we were created to be.
Today I am thankful for those striving for God’s peace in our homes, our nation and world. I’m thankful today for families who are seeking wholeness and health in their relationships despite their own shortcomings and failures. I’m thankful today for soldiers and their families who are sacrificing much in the hope of peace. I’m thankful for communities of faith today who are joining hands and hearts for the common good despite differences of creed and tradition.