There’s a phrase in the scriptures of my faith tradition that I’ve always loved: “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.”
The words could be interpreted a number of different ways–and have been in the various faith groups that call these words scripture. Even in my own, understanding them has been a growing process.
I like the words because of what they say about community.
“Zion” is another name for the kingdom of God as lived out on earth–the kind of community that I believe the early followers of Jesus experienced.
The challenge is found in the words “were of one heart and one mind.” Sometimes that’s been interpreted to mean that the members of the community all believed the same things. But I don’t think that’s what it means at all. In fact, I don’t really have any interest in living in a community where everyone believes the exact same thing…lives in lockstep, as it were. I like diversity!
So what do I think those words mean? As I’ve been thinking about it recently, I think it can be interpreted in light of what Jesus called the two great commandments–to love God with all our being and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If that is our focus, then we will be of one heart and one mind, even if the way in which we express and live out those beliefs vary.
If we do that, then we would be living in righteousness–living rightly…in accordance with high ethical principles.
And if we do all of that, then there would not be any poor among us, because we would be willing to share with each other. We wouldn’t be so worried about accumulating “stuff.”
Is this way of living even possible? I believe so–but it asks us to be vulnerable to each other…to be willing to live in understanding that none of us has all knowledge or all truth…to learn to see each other through the eyes of the One who created us…
Is this way of living possible? I believe it is–and not only possible, but absolutely essential.