Community will save the world

Feb 11, 2015 by

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I once read a blog post by a Unitarian pastor who said she believed community would save the world.

I think she may be right.

In fact, I think this is just another way of saying what Jesus said: that the Church would do greater things than he did.

I’ve always been a little skeptical of this statement. I mean, really, Jesus: us? Greater things than you’ve done? Are you sure about that? Have you met us? We’re a lazy, selfish bunch.

Felix

Felix

Or at least that’s what I thought until tragedy hit our family. On Dec. 3, 12 days after my son, Felix, was born, I got a call from the newborn screening center at the Victoria Hospital in London, Ont., letting me know that Felix’s blood test got flagged for a rare, life-threatening disease called SCID — severe combined immune deficiency.

This genetic disorder means Felix is unable to produce t-lymphocytes, which are necessary to fight infection. In other words, he has no immune system. Any bacteria or virus that he gets exposed to can be life-threatening. SCID is actually unusually common among the Mennonite population, though I’d never heard of it before Felix was diagnosed.

And now, the community that has enveloped us with love is saving us. And it looks and feels a lot like Jesus.

This community is sustaining us, as a family, on every level while we endure this hell.

For starters, there are the doctors.

Jesus cured people with a touch. This team of doctors and nurses who is treating Felix has cured countless children with life-threatening diseases like SCID, or leukemia. . . . They’ve saved children from certain death. It’s not instantaneous and it’s not perfect, but it’s very real healing. So it kind of reminds me of Jesus.

And then there are the friends, family members, acquaintances, charitable organizations and taxpayers who are keeping us alive. Let me count a few of the ways.

  • Money has been pouring in from friends, family and complete strangers so that we can focus on caring for Felix.
  • Our families are providing amazing care for our 3-year-old, Lydia, while we’re preoccupied with Felix’s urgent care.
  • People are praying on our behalf when I can’t. Honestly, most days I can’t even pray. I’m just too worn out, too miserable, too hopeless. That’s why I keep asking you to do it for me — you who are closer to God. Maybe he’ll hear you. Literally hundreds of people — entire congregations, multitudes of blog readers, friends and family members scattered across the continent — are praying for us. If my Catholic friends are right, departed souls are even praying on our behalf. God’s got to listen, right? And just knowing that all these dear friends and strangers are begging for Felix’s healing helps me get through this.
  • Your tax money, fellow Ontarians, is also helping to keep him alive. We could never, ever in a million years afford this treatment, even with all the donations pouring in. Last week Felix received a $5,000 vaccine that was paid for by Ontario Health Insurance Plan. It’s only possible because we’re pooling the money of thousands of people. The magic of community.

If I was on my own . . . I don’t think I’d make it in one piece, spiritually or otherwise. But community is keeping me together. It’s God’s kingdom at work.

Some of the members of this community are consciously members of God’s kingdom. Others are contributing without realizing it, but I think that counts, too. I believe that every heart that moves in line with God’s will is helping to build that kingdom here on Earth, helping to redeem it.

For some reason, I am learning that God prefers to do things collectively, in community; and he likes to do things the slow, complicated, mysterious way.

Honestly, I often question his judgment on that (the quick, simple, painless way seems vastly superior to my way of thinking . . . ), but since he is the Great Benevolent Force Behind Everything and all, I guess I just have to trust that he knows best. I wish he would consult me on these matters, but I understand I haven’t been around all that long and can’t take it too personally.

So I’m trusting that God is using community to save us. I’m getting a glimpse of how he’s planning to carry out the redemption of all creation — through us. It’s insane and frustrating and messy and I kind of hate it a lot of the time, but it’s happening. And I suppose I should be grateful that I get to witness it.

Kathleen Quiring lives in Leamington, Ont. This originally appeared on her blog, becomingpeculiar.com, where she has been posting regular updates about Felix.


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