If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. Deuteronomy 15:7 (NRSV)
Last week our daughter, Taylor, and I were having lunch together. Taylor returned from Graduate school in Scotland this past summer and has been living with us as she applies for jobs around the country. We talked about our move to the small town of Pella from the suburbs over a decade ago and how that move changed our lives.
Growing up in the midwest there is a spirit of community that still exists, even in the cities. When you live in Pella, however, the idea of community is taken to a whole different level. Neighbors look out for one other. Neighbors lend freely and return favors. Almost everyone is involved in volunteering in the community in some way. It’s a wonderful town. “There’s no town quite like it,” I said to Taylor as we ate our lunch, and she agreed.
I was struck this morning by the number of times the word “community” was used in the chapter. The rules and commands were really geared toward the concepts of how to live together in community. The overarching principles that come out of the chapter is goodwill, generosity and forgiveness. As I read, I thought of numerous examples of how I’ve experienced these principle with my neighbors and examples of how I’ve attempted to live out the same.
Today, I’m thankful for community. No community is perfect. We live in a fallen world and even the Hebrews who received the commands through Moses would find that reality always falls short of God’s ideal in this fallen world. Nevertheless, there are places where you find the spirit of community more than others. I live in one of those places, and I’m very grateful.
Featured photo: Dutch Dancers (all volunteers) entertain crowds and teach traditional Dutch dances on the streets of Pella Iowa during that annual “Tulip Time” festival.