It's popular to talk about "unity in diversity." As one example, we celebrate the rich ethnic diversity of our nation. But the important question is whether we are basically united or basically divided.
"Community" has been defined as "a unified body of individuals," as "people with common interests living in a particular area." To be a community, what we are "in common" must become more significant than our differences.
Is the Burdekin a true "community"? Are we defined by the side of the river we live, by our ethnic background, by whether we are farmers, farm labourers, haul-out operators, mill workers, mill management…? Or are we a community, positively looking out for one another's needs and interests?
Paul calls Jesus "our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" to make peace by reconciling both sides to God through the cross (Eph. 2:14). Too often group-interest and self-interest have divided us. In Jesus Christ we can become true community together. Only by recognising the One who is beyond us and greater - and forgives our selfish stupidity - can the "dividing walls" come down.
© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin newspapers, 18-19 July 2001
Scripture quotations from New International Version © International Bible Society 1984.