Nicolae Tanase: Pastor John, what is the meaning of life?
Rev. John R. Mabry: I believe the only thing that gives life meaning is community. As a Christian pastor, my faith provides me with a treasure-house of metaphors and images that speaks to me about this truth.
The concept of the Trinity speaks to me of a God who is community. Jesus is that part of God who entered into community with human beings, and who calls us into community with God and with one another. We are saved by community and for community.
Every faith tradition has its own metaphors and symbols, of course, but the end is similar: We are not made for isolation, but for relationship, for communion, for community. Wounding each other, we break relationship, but we can also choose forgiveness and compassion, to heal and restore relationship. God’s dream is to heal everything broken, and to restore right relationship between us and God, between us and our deepest selves, between us and each other, and between us and the earth and its creatures.
Community is always salvific, no matter what your faith tradition might be. One way of understanding the Lord’s prayer is to say, “Your Community come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
~Rev. John R. Mabry is a United Church of Christ minister and pastor at Grace North Church. He teaches comparative theology and is the director of the interfaith spiritual direction certificate program at the Chaplaincy Institute. He is the author of many books on spirituality, as well as several novels.
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