Larry Sheehy102111Listen to Larry Sheehy read his Thinking of God column.
A few years ago, “community” was one of the popular words used by speakers and writers, especially among those dealing with Christian themes. It’s a good word, denoting the concepts of kinship, harmony and mutual concerns.
In the mid-1970s, Charles F. Brown and Gary L. Mabry worked together to give us a simple but beautiful song about the reality of community for Christians living and serving together in the Lord. Only a few lines long, it’s titled “A Common Love.”
"A common love for each other,
a common gift to the Savior,
a common bond holding us to the Lord;
A common strength when we’re weary,
a common hope for tomorrow,
a common joy in the truth of God’s Word."
The obvious link in the hymn is the idea of the values held in common among Christian disciples. Rather than being understood as ordinary or average, trite or vulgar (all perfectly legitimate
synonyms in other contexts), the term “common” in this inspirational piece should conjure up the ideas of fellowship, sharing and participation in the things related to Christian living and devotion.
Ignoring the peculiarities that often alienate people from different backgrounds, converts to the faith of Christ should understand they are now part of a single, divine community – the family of God.
That realization can help provide for all of us the benefits detailed in the words of the song.
Our LOVE for one another is in imitation of God’s love for us, as our GIVING to the Lord is an expression of gratitude for his grace, a grace which serves as a BOND uniting us together when our own weakness threaten to tear us apart.
The STRENGTH of that bond is available to us when we think we can go no further, providing the HOPE that, in the testimony of Paul, saves us.
And the resulting JOY which can be ours comes from the TRUTH and integrity of the declarations of God found in the words of Holy Scripture.
Songs and hymns about spiritual values don’t have to be long to be profound.