We had a guest speaker at our church gathering last night. Adrian Archambault from the Grandview-Woodland Community Policing Centre on Commercial Drive in Vancouver). He spoke to us about “Barriers to Peace in Our Communities” and then we discussed ways to get past the barriers. We spoke a lot about isolation; its causes and its consequences. We have all met people who are isolated. Marginalized people of the streets of Vancouver are isolated. People who live in fear of criminals are isolated by their protective systems. Many, from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds, choose to be isolated and it can be difficult to bring people out of their isolation. Adrian spoke of “atonement” and said that it is about “at-one-ment.” For our communities to experience peace, we must experience “at-one-ment.” At-one-ment means a breaking down of the barriers and recognizing that we are all part of the same family. Adrian suggested that not everyone is ready to break free of their isolation and that we need to seek to be present in people’s lives for when they are ready to open up.

After the discussion we experienced at-one-ment and atonement as we celebrated the Lord’s Supper together as a community and focussed on how Jesus exemplified the ultimate at-one-ment by becoming one of us and then sacrificing his life to pay for our atonement and make us at-one with God. There was much to think about and much for which we could be grateful.

I have many people in my life whom I regularly invite into community. Some are happy to be in community; others are hesitant or are down-right resistant to being part of a community. Some choose isolation over at-one-ment. I can speak of the benefits and joys of community and I can invite people into the greatest community of all: the Kingdom of God. But not even God will force people to be part of the Kingdom. We are here as a light, a witness, and a model of those who have found at-one-ment in Christ. We model a new kind of community and wait for others to find the truth in Jesus.

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