God desires to protect and cause to flourish the ‘us’, the community, that exists in Him. In one place I read of a cleansing ritual for when a person is found murdered in a field and no one knows who the murderer is. At the end of the passage detailing the process to follow after such a discovery, God says:
'By following these instructions, you will do what is right in the Lord ’s sight and will cleanse the guilt of murder from your community.' Deuteronomy 21:9
In our Western, individualistic society, I confess that I may mourn and feel sad over an unnamed individual found dead in a field, but I would harbor no sense of guilt. I would easily feel detached. Clearly God sees a lacking and a ‘guilt’ over that kind of an incident and over that kind of response. The community needs to feel it and know it, and the community needs a process to cleanse itself after it.
Later God speaks to personal rights and community responsibility as He talks about ‘found’ items – including wandering animals. He says, ‘Take it back to its owner.’ Finding an animal wandering or some item left behind doesn’t grant freedom to make it one’s own. No ‘finders, keepers’ here. Instead, God says ‘Don’t ignore your responsibility.’
'Do the same if you find your neighbor’s donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don’t ignore your responsibility.’ Deuteronomy 22:3b
Community is important. Community is valued by God. Thanks to each of our Love INC volunteers for caring about our community. Thank you for taking responsibility to come alongside of others. Please pray with me that all those who are served by Love INC will come to community with Jesus and even greater community with us as together we are the Family of God!
~ Claudia Lee, Love INC Board