A girl with a stuffed unicorn stood by the restrooms at church this morning. I've been seeing unicorns everywhere, and each time, I have a little flair moment. Here's why.
I learned recently that a gathering of unicorns is called a blessing. I just love that. Animal groups have some strange names. Alligators are a congregation; barracudas are batteries (did you know that?); sea birds are called wrecks; bullfinches are a bellowing; zebras are a crossing; rhinos are a crash, and owls are a parliament.
But a group of unicorns is a blessing.
The gathering of beautiful creatures, more divine than earthly, isn't just the stuff of lore and legend. As I left the bathroom, I walked into the worship gathering of our church. It suddenly occurred to me that I was in the presence of the divine, the holy--in the people.
It suddenly stuck me how much I loved the people. I knew all those people, and all those people knew me. I could probably raise my hand and ask anybody for anything and the answer would be, "no problem."
One man had broken his ankle and, on crutches, rose to the applause of the rest of us as we cheered in hope of his full recovery.
And those people--those creatures more divine than earthly--were my blessing. They were my group and my joy both.
People go crazy in isolation. People die in isolation; they can lose their vitality and their strength. But in groups, they thrive, they enhance one another, and they accomplish more together than they could alone. They bring forth the glory of God.
In the Scriptures, Satan drives people to solitary places. In fact, his best work is accomplished when we are alone. For example, Jesus encounters a demon-possessed man who “drives the man into solitary places” (Luke 8: 29). And we learn in the book of Peter that the enemy of our souls "prowls around like a roaring lion waiting to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He must search for the loner. When I watch nature shows, I'm always struck by the skill of the lion. He preys on the lone gazelle, the one that gets away from his group. The isolated, the ones separate from their group, are the ones in the most danger.
If only we could see that left-out person as part of ourselves. If only we could boldly move forward, extend a hand, and invite a stranger into our blessing. Our story has many more characters to include.
If only we could see the divine calling to participate in each others' lives.
We are interdependent at our best, much like tiny streams that, when we link up, become mighty rivers that nourish entire landscapes.
I need to join my blessing. Whatever it takes, I need to. Living with flair means seeing my community as more divine than earthly and part of my own self. Within my blessing, I gather in the stray gazelles when I'm strong. And when I'm weak, I look to the others to circle around me and bring me to safety.