May 27, 2011Today was a day that I have come away from thinking that Thomas Wolfe may not have known exactly what he was talking about. I spent this day in my hometown of Ayden, North Carolina, at a benefit golf tournament that raises money for athletics in the high school (actually its successor) that I graduated from 46 years ago. There was time for visiting and remembering a simpler time, a time when we felt safe, when we knew our neighbors, and pulled together as a community to make a good life even in a very small town. This is the place that shaped me into who I am. People there remember my parents and my three generations of my family. It is a comfortable place - like Mira- where "everybody knows my name." For many around this country and the world, the idea of home and community seems to be a bygone ideal. Rugged individualism and personal best too often supplant notions of cooperation that lead to a "let's get there together" blessing. In all the ways we are fractured - failed marriages and fractured families are our local experience, one-upmanship, partison politics and rivalry our national posture, and globally all we need to do is see the evening news to see how our nation to nation dialogue is working for us - we seem to have forgotten that we live on a very small planet where our choices and our carelessness with relationships and with all creation will have ultimate effect on us all. From the beginning of the Biblical narrative, God did not want us to be alone, but in family and in community. It is the covenant life spoken in Genesis- "I will be your God; you will be my people." But the magnanimity of loving the world is far different from loving the person who lives next door, or the person who lives under the same roof. Sadly, we sometimes only learn this lesson as we face catastrophe and natural disaster and we realize we can't go it alone. Everybody does not have an Ayden to go home to. But the creation of covenant community, that was God's hope from the beginning, is the great opportunity of the church and the world today. Home and community do not just happen. It takes commitment, cooperation, compassion and just plain work. Realizing that we are one people together in this one world is impetus enough for us in our homes, churches, communities and country to move in a new direction together. This is the opportunity of our time. Gracious God, what a good plan you have in the creation of a people who in You have capacity to love one another and to create a climate of good will and peace. Thank you for my family or origin - parents and grandparents who loved each other and loved You and me. Thank you for the blessing of a sister and a brother and their families who bless me in so many ways. Thank you for my home and family with Tom and our children. Your blessing extends through many friendships and communities I love. Guide me, guide all of us to extend the blessing of home to the world. Amen.