YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City

The question for today’s Monday Morning Joe is this: How are you cultivating a beloved community? 

Cultivating a beloved community begins with a belief that those within the community have intrinsic value. What I mean is this: beloved community begins with a belief the people who make up the community have value. Their value is not given based upon their social class, their economic class, their orientation, or their race or ethnicity. Their value is given based on the fact they are human, created in the same image as we, created by the same God who created you and me. That alone gives a person value. Their humanness gives them worth. They are worthy of love because they are. 

The belief that those within the community have intrinsic value begins somewhere also; it begins within the self. It begins by seeing yourself worthy of love and acceptance. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is just as important, to love your neighbor as yourself. How we show love to our neighbor shows how we love God and how we see ourselves. If I hate my neighbor, then I hate myself and I hate God. If I love my neighbor, I do so because I believe they are worthy of the same love I am. Yet, it is difficult to take hold of this truth: you are worthy of love because you are. 

Once we begin to see ourselves as lovable in the eyes of God, we begin to see our neighbor through the same lens. We see each other as people, children of God, and it changes our perspective. It changes our interactions and our reactions. We begin to see each other as a brother or sister instead of as a stranger. This shift allows us to cultivate a beloved community. 

Cultivating beloved community begins with seeing value in a person simply because they are valuable. Seeing our neighbor with value begins with seeing value in ourselves. It begins by loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and then loving our neighbor as ourselves. On this hang all the law and the words of the prophets. 

By cultivating beloved community through seeing one another with value as a child of God, we lay the strong foundation to build a beloved community.