Original: Day 3 of 3

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Original Community

Esther Baruja

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
-Galatians 6:2 New International Version (NIV)

I recently returned from visiting my hometown. I’ve lived away from my community of origin for 12 years now, and each time I visit I feel further away from the family members and friends who used to feel familiar. I recognize that I am also further away from the person that I was when I lived there—the person that they remember. And while I have changed, many of them seem to remain the same. I changed because I had to learn how to survive as queer person in a “queer-phobic” world.

It’s hard to experience this sense of distance, but on this most recent visit an old friend organized a get-together with others who felt “outside of the margins.” We talked about our present struggles, our dreams, and our futures. At the end of our conversation, they thanked me for my time with them. In turn, I was thankful to them. They gave me hope to continue seeking a more just world. They connected me to their experiences. They fueled my spirit with their passion. In a place where I thought I had lost connections, I found a new family. By carrying one another’s burdens, we created a new community. Today, reflect on where you can help to create or renew community in your own life. Whose burdens can you carry?


About the Author

Esther Baruja, native of Paraguay, has a Master in Divinity from ISEDET Seminary in Argentina and Chicago Theological Seminary.  Esther's focus is theological-based liberation from multi-layer oppressions at the intersections of race, class and gender. She lives in Cleveland, where she is pastoring at Archwood UCC church in Brooklyn Centre.