A Community Chest
Remember playing the game Monopoly? The game board lays nicely on a kitchen table or a living room floor for hours of entertainment. I love choosing the silver game piece. I like the hat, but will settle for the car. After the roll of the dice, players gain and loose money from buying property to every time they pass through "Go." Also, money can be gained or lost through the Chance and Community Chest cards. Recently, I learned the history behind Monopoly's community chest, and I absolutely loved the concept started with mission.
On Kate Bowler's "Everything Happens Podcast," Bowler shares a conversation with United Way's CEO, Angela Williams. In Season 11, Episode 5, "The Caring Power of Community," Angela tells the history of United Way, an organization founded 135 years ago by a Jewish woman, Rabbi, Catholic priest, Lutheran pastor, and Presbyterian pastor. At the time, the faith group noticed a need in their community and began collecting time, talents, and treasures. They started A Community Chest and began meeting the needs of their community together, rather than apart. At some point, the named changed from A Community Chest to United Way.
Kate Bowler loved the founding name and remarked how faithful people once said, "This is our common treasury and we will give out to the service of others."
In closing, Angela shared the fun fact that Monopoly's community chest was based off of United Way's original name.
After listening to this conversation, I turned to the Gospels and reflected on Jesus's conversation with his Father regarding his hope for humanity. In John 17, Jesus prayed, "Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are." John 17:11a, New Living Translation. In his prayer, Jesus desired for humanity to be united with God and one another.
As humans, we easily walk roads of division rather than paths of unity. In my life, I have noticed how easily and quickly roads of separation occur within my community and throughout the world. Over the years, I have discovered like the founding members of A Community Chest, how mission merges the roads of division toward pathways of unity. While serving others, I recognize God's abiding presence, draw closer to Christ, and with the Spirit's help, I become an active witness of love. In these moments, I experience an indescribable oneness with the divine and a glimpse of the heavenly realm in a broken world longing for hope and healing.
This week, I hope you will experience an indescribable oneness with the divine and walk pathways of unity. Here are seven simple steps to help you along the way:
Step 1: Listen to "The Caring Power of Community" podcast.
Step 2: Read John 17.
Step 3: Notice a need.
Step 4: Talk to God.
Step 5: Tell a friend or a group.
Step 6: Take action to meet the need.
Step 7: Experience God's abiding love and give thanks together.