But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into… Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. Ephesians 2: 14-15
A Word of Hope
If we look at the current state of global and national affairs today, we might agree that we could use an infusion of the third Kwanzaa principle-- Ujima or Collective Work and Responsibility. The purpose of this principle is "To build and maintain our community together and to make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together." Ujima entails a “commitment to active and informed togetherness on matters of common interest. It is also recognition and respect of the fact that without collective work and struggle, progress is impossible and liberation unthinkable.” http://www.endarkenment.com/kwanzaa/nguzosaba/ujima.htm
Another compelling implication of the term is that “Ujima… means that we accept the fact that we are collectively responsible for our failures and setbacks as well as our victories and achievements. And this holds true not only on the national level, but also on the level of family and organization or smaller units. Such a commitment … encourages a vigorous capacity for self-criticism and self-correction which is indispensable to our strength, defense and development as a people.” Given the current state of finger pointing and tweet-wars in government particularly, we could all benefit from self-reflection about our behavior and a posture of humble forgiveness-seeking when we are wrong.
This principle of Kwanzaa resonates with values of the early Christian community. Rodney Stark in The Rise of Christianity asserts that “Christianity served as a revitalization movement that arose in response to the misery, chaos, fear, and brutality of life in the urban Greco-Roman world. . . . Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent problems. To cities filled with the homeless and impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachment. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family.”
May we learn from both of these philosophies to engage in a commitment to co-operation and provision beyond our own small circle—a taste perhaps of the Beloved Community.
Dr. Pat Saxon