Communities of Joy, Hope, Love, and Peace

By Elizabeth Else of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

The mission statement of Community of Christ is “We proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace.” I have experienced the gift of this mission.

Although I am an only child, I prefer to live in community. My family teasingly compared me to a puppy that loves to be around people. I am fortunate to have traveled the world and to have found community in so many places. What a blessing!

When I was finishing my first missionary term in Korea, I was looking at teaching in Asia, but nothing had been finalized. A month before I was to leave and a few days before I needed to make a commitment to seek a specific position, I discovered I had cancer. Suddenly my life turned upside down.

I had to return to North America. I had no home, no job, and I faced financial and medical crises. And yet, because of the love of communities around the world, I felt I was cradled in love.

My Korean community flew into action. It made flight reservations, helped me pack, said prayers, and cooked my favorite Korean food. I discovered not only family and friends, but communities throughout the worldwide church had put me on their prayer lists.

In Seattle I was welcomed into a home where I was lovingly cared for. I was able to work out the financial and medical challenges. Often the treatments were unpleasant and tiring. It took a year and a half to recover and feel fit again.

Communities of joy, hope, love, and peace carried me through. Groups of people called “communities” shared God’s love.

Prayer for Peace:

God of hope, I am so blessed to be part of Christ’s community. May all that I do be an invitation to others to come into this community so they may experience joy, hope, love, and peace.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Offering Blessings of Community

Each day this week receive and share blessings of community. Begin with a prayer of gratitude for the network of relationships in your life. See and feel connections with family members, spiritual friends, people in your congregation and community, people and creatures in God’s sacred web of life.

What blessings flow to you from these circles? Reflect, pray, and write in your journal about the call to be “Community of Christ.” Go deeper each day as you “discern and embrace” the “divine blessing” of this name that opens you to “become a blessing to the whole creation” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:1). What act of blessing are you invited to complete?

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will welcome and care for the stranger among us.

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