At principle I was taught while growing up was to try and leave things better than I found them. Here I will apply that concept to community. I have in the past referenced the importance of the following verse from Proverbs.
11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 11:11 (NKJV)
In looking at this it is important to remember that a city is a community made up of many people with differing views and desires. Here is a brief example that highlights what I am referencing. I was recently speaking with someone at a Pickleball court and I noted all he has done over the years to build community where he lives. He volunteers and helps out in a variety of areas. He does this because he not only sees what is, he sees what could be and so invests his life in his community. While this man is not a believer, he blesses and strengthens his community by his actions.
I seek to think from a scriptural perspective and part of a scriptural perspective is recognizing the importance of building a community. For example, I remember years ago helping to rebuild the playground in our neighbourhood. This wasn’t a ‘Christian’ event but it was an event that helped to strengthen community in our neighbourhood, which is Christian.
In line with the broader idea of community there is another verse in Proverbs that is important.
2 Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; But by a man of understanding and knowledge Right will be prolonged. Proverbs 28:2 (NKJV)
Currently in our land, Canada, we are in a precarious place. Right is not only not being prolonged; it is being fought against in our nation. The most vehement opposition is coming from many of our elected officials and our education system. We need men and women with understanding and knowledge to rise up to establish righteousness in our nation. We won’t get anywhere by cursing the darkness, it is easy to see the transgressions. What we need is wisdom to shine the light of truth in every corner of our land so that what is right is strengthened.
One way to shine the light of truth is through looking at how we engage in prayer. The pattern of prayer for specific places is a pattern in scripture. In Psalm 122 there is an exhortation to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That would include praying for the spiritual and religious leaders to walk in the way of peace and wisdom. In context Israel was at the time living in the land Yahweh had given them and Jerusalem was their capital city, religiously and politically.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.” Psalm 122:6 (NKJV)
Another example of the call to pray for a specific city is in Jeremiah. The nation was going into captivity. Rather than telling them to curse their captors (the Lord was causing this as judgement for their apostasy) Jeremiah said to pray for the city because by blessing it they would have peace in living in this new place.
7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace. Jeremiah 29:7 (NKJV)
In summary, wherever we live and act we have the opportunity to be a blessing and strengthen our community and nation. After all, a nation is made up of many communities. We have the opportunity to focus our prayers and actions on ways to build supportive godly communities. Without knowing when Jesus will return, we can focus our efforts on doing what we can with what we have where we are. We all have the opportunity to leave things better than we found them so let’s bless the places we live!