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Kwanzaa is an African American celebration of family, community and culture. It begins the day after Christmas through New Year’s Day observing seven key principles derived from an African philosophy over the seven days.

The third principle is COLLECTIVE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY or Ujima (Swahili) Its focus … “To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.” — http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org

Community.

In recent years, we’ve seen a decline in familial and communal structures.  Generational and societal norms have changed but not God. What an assurance.  When all around us is reeling, we can retreat back to Him, stable and sure.  However, He teaches us to build community, to care for one another, to support and love one another. Instead though we build walls. Walls of classism, politicism, religiosity, intolerance, self-preservation, unforgiveness, exclusivity, distrust, and the list goes on … walls.  Community and togetherness cannot exist where there are walls (The Great Wall, the Iron Curtain, Brewster Place).  

The task though is breaking down the walls, determining how to reunite the community, how to rediscover the values and reconstruct the belief systems that historically have strengthened and preserved community.  Whether it is the family, church, learning or social community, walls must be destroyed so that the ‘goodness’ of community can nurture and heal the world. Our values and belief systems define what is important to us.  When we determine that family and community are more important than anything outside of it, we will experience its benefits.

The latter verses of Acts 2 gives us a glimpse of community … believers continued in fellowship and in one accord, having all things common, having favor with all people.  This is the goodness that comes from community.  

Then in Philippians 2:2-4, Paul teaches,
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

I pray that the love of God will constrain us to prefer and esteem community and enable us to do what we can to build it and sustain it.