I was taking an assembly at a local secondary school this morning and talking about the African concept of ubuntu. Before the name was adopted by computer geeks it was a traditional word that is difficult to translate into English. But I think the essence of is that we are completed in community. We need other people to help us to be our best. No difference is great enough to mean that we do not need other people – either so that we can help complete them or they can help complete us, or both.
I support Ipswich Town Football Club (yes, I am used to disappointment). They are my favourite team and I am never going to change that. But unless there were other football teams for them to play, there would not be much point in them existing. (Yes, even Norwich City!) We all need each other, even those with whom we disagree.
I did a magic trick this morning using numbers. Thankfully it worked. But we need all numbers if we are to be able to count accurately and easily. Mathematics depends on there being more than one number. (And for pedants like my son, that includes binary because you need 1 and 0 for that number system). Everyone is needed, even if we are different (or because we are).
This should be no surprise to us: in the earliest chapters of the Bible we hear God say that it is not good for man to be on his own. Much of the Bible is about how to live together in a God-centred community. It’s not named Ubuntu but the concept is inherent in who we are created to be.
I think that applies to churches, denominations, neighbourhoods, workplaces, places of study, families… maybe Barney the Dinosaur was right with his song: “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. Won’t you say you love me too?”
be blessed, be a blessing