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“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” –Hebrews 10:24-25
“God is a verb, not a noun,” said Buckminster Fuller with confidence. And my Aunt Alma and Uncle Mike spent a lifetime proving Bucky right.
Alma and Mike lived in N. Branch, Minnesota. Married for 60 years, she taught 2nd grade in North Branch for 40 years. He was a Lutheran Minister and the National American Foreign Legion Chaplain, offering many morning prayers in the U.S. Senate. 72 years ago he was with the first team into Hiroshima, ground zero. This experience and their Faith lead to lives devoted to their community, as I learned during a recent visit.
Wherever they went, peace and love went with them. Second Graders, now 30 years old, stopped Alma to share news of a baby or a new job. Families remembered Church events with Mike and others talked about losing a parent…or child. For fifty miles around, we could not walk through a store or restaurant without significant sharing. After several days of this, I mentioned that the town seemed to have a wonderful sense of community. Their reply showed me that this feeling was no accident.
Mike said, “Scripture supports that God is community. The day-to-day realities of dealing with each other in community, whether at the dinner table or the polling booth, are not, as we tend to think, secular experiences but really the stuff of Faith and Church.
Alma added, “We all know that God can never be fully understood. But God can be known and related to by us as a flow of relationships… as community. When we live in these relationships, God lives inside of us and we live inside of God.”
I am personally still working on all of this. But their living example of the Story of Immanuel has been a wonderful gift.