Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often wrote and spoke about the Beloved Community. It referred to the notion that we live in a global community in which all people can share in the human and natural resources of the earth. It is a community of inclusion on all levels of society. He said that poverty, hunger and homelessness would never be tolerated, and all would share equally in the earth’s bounty.
I think I have heard words like these before and found them again in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2:
“… all who shared the faith owned everything in common; they sold their goods and possessions and distributed the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed…. They praised God and were looked up to by everyone. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.”
The Beloved Community in the year 2020 has had unprecedented experiences so far. We have lived through a presidential election that rivals all the chads that were ever stuck on a ballot; are living through a global pandemic, and have stood together to demonstrate the need for racial justice. Yet not all the members of the Beloved Community have achieved the desired results as members of the community. Does this mean the Beloved Community does not exist? Is it just “pie in the sky”?
The inauguration, though a much more subdued experience than we have known in the past, gives us glimpses of what could be. The poetry of Amanda Gorman is a wonderful example of preaching for hope, and phrases like “we are striving to form a union with purpose” or “ … even as we grieved , we grew; even as we hurt, we hoped; even as we tired, we tried” give us the possibility of possibilities unexplored.
Now as we begin the year 2021, look around you; check out your neighborhood; listen to your local news. There are so many possibilities to create that community every day.
Signs of the possibility of a Beloved Community exist; we can perfect them; we can continue to build the Beloved Community as best we can. The times may be insane; the needs may be great, but we are the people of Peace in the Beloved Community.