Families, communities, empires and our spiritual lives start sinking and drowning in the destructive waters of delusion when they lose touch with reality, when they stop listening, learning from their mistakes and embracing change and growth through dialogue and change.
One of the Scripture readings for this Sunday is from the book of Acts, chapter 6. The passage is a reminder about the importance of creating safe spaces where we can raise our worries and concerns, listening in a loving and compassionate way without judgment, working towards change through discussion and teamwork, and how the power and love of God is revealed in our lives and transforms our churches and families when we do so.
We call our church Apostolic, we base our faith and traditions on the teachings of the apostles and look up to them as the ultimate role models of our faith. But rarely do we recognize that they, and the communities of the early church founded by them, had some of the very same struggles and challenges that the modern church dealt with.
In today’s passage, we see how the early church faced a problem of discrimination and inequality, where the Greek-speaking widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. The apostles recognized the problem and the need to address it, so they gathered the whole community and created safe spaces where everyone could share their worries and concerns. They listened with empathy and compassion, without judging or rejecting anyone. Through open communication and collaborative discussion, they worked towards a solution that would benefit all members of the community, and as a result, the church grew in unity, strength and numbers.
It is important for us today to strive toward creating inclusive, safe and sacred spaces in our communities and families where others feel comfortable to express our concerns and doubts without fear of judgment or rejection. When such disagreements and concerns are raised, it is equally essential to listen, relate and embrace them with empathy, love and understanding.
Through the simple acts of listening, relating and growing together through dialogue, we allow Christ to be revealed among us and our lives, families and communities to be transformed into fertile grounds where the divine blessings of growth are planted.
Let us follow the example of the Holy Apostles and the early church and create safe spaces for growth and unity. Let us listen with empathy and compassion, and work together towards building a community where everyone feels valued and heard. In doing so, we will reveal the power and love of God in our lives, churches and families, and spread His love and grace to the world around us. May God bless us and guide us in this journey of growth and unity.