(un)Common

I was thinking today about the crisis in the Ukraine.  2 groups of people are fighting, though they have quite similar cultures, live in a similar geographic region, and have a great deal of history together.  One might say they have a lot in common.

Common is a funny word though...we usually use "common" when we talk about things that we see often.  Common things are things that we are used to, and don't get too surprised about.  The second definition is the one we use like I did above...people who have things in common have things that are normal between them...they have a binding tie. 

There is a grand book from our brothers in the Anglican church known as the book of Common Prayer.  In it is a prayer which says:

"O God, you have bound us together in a common life.  Help us...to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

This is a beautiful prayer for the trying times we find ourselves in.  Just as Ukraine is divided, people in the United States are divided over ideological lines, political squabbles, and ignorant contempt.  So too is our Presbyterian Church as we struggle with how to be Christ-like (and struggle amongst ourselves) in a modern, unfair, over-sexed, and materialistic world.  While Christ calls us all to be uncommon and apart from the usual status quo, we must always take pains to remember what we have in common as well...with our fellow believers true, but also with our fellow man, who even at his lowest moment, bears yet the dignity and image of God.