Christian Community

"Send us out to do the work you have given us to do," Prayer after Communion, p. 366 BCP

Another wonderful two weeks in Cuernavaca has come to an end. As in years past, the group this year gelled quickly, everyone intent on learning as much Spanish as possible while also savoring the delicious food and extraordinarily rich culture of Mexico. As interesting as our various outings were, what impressed me most this year happened within the walls of the Anglican Center, our home away from home during our time in Cuernavaca. During the first week one of the men in the group became quite ill, so that overnight he became so weak one of the other men in the group, a better Spanish speaker than the sick man, graciously offered to accompany him to the Cruz Roja clinic for some much needed medical attention. Within a day the sick man was on the mend, profoundly grateful for the help he had received.

Unfortunately, midway through the next week one of the women came down with what appeared to be a different virus. Her roommate spent much of a night getting up with her and helping her to the bathroom as she became progressively weaker. By morning she was so weak that one of the retired nurses in the group insisted it was time for another trip to the Cruz Roja. Again driven by our wonderful friend to the group, Rodrigo, the patient received IV fluids at the clinic while Rodrigo and our resident nurse drove from pharmacy to pharmacy hunting down the medications the clinic doctor had prescribed. Once back at the center it was a tough day, as the sick woman needed assistance in a variety of ways, but the sense of community was palpable as people stepped in to help in whatever way was needed. When people tried to thank or compliment our nurse, who missed some of her own classes as she coordinated the health care that took place, she always brushed aside the expressions of gratitude saying, “it’s what you do. If you know how to help and help is needed, you just give it.” Sadly, we all know not everyone lives with that same level of caring. As Jesus illustrated in the parable of the good Samaritan, plenty of people choose to walk right by a person in need, rather than extend a helping hand. Happily, our newly formed community, made up of people who will likely never come together again, truly did display the very best of what we all hope Christian community can look like, helping when help was needed with no thought of repayment but rather out of a genuine sense of caring.

Clearly, whether we’re helping others by living into a role for which we were trained, or simply taking time to be kind, we are doing what Jesus calls us to do, making our faith more than simply words, but a way of life.