Solidarity: a concept that became a reality
Noun: Unity or agreement of feeling or action, esp. among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.
A number of years ago I was involved in a little Bible study that ran out of the basement living room of a friend of mine. There was a small group of us that were keen to explore Christianity in more depth and gain a deeper understanding of our faith through exploring the Bible. It was actually exciting, especial for me as I didn’t have any Biblical insight prior to the study. In my ignorance I had originally assumed that the Bible was a bunch of stories and rules that were meant to stop people from expressing themselves. I was wonderfully mistaken and began to be both amazed and inspired at the content of the book. There was one day that will always stand out for me, a day where the concepts of what we were reading actually began to spill out into reality.
We were talking about giving while exploring the way in which the early church shared what they had in order to ensure that no one went without; A stand of solidarity. As we explored the importance of giving and sharing one of the members of our study began to cry. Everyone was a little surprised; the study was good but it wasn’t that good! We all stopped and gave her the space to be able to share what it was that was bothering her. She explained that she had lost her job a number of weeks before and that she was running out of money. She was scraping by with barely any food or enough money to pay for transport. We all had no idea, and of course felt terrible. At this point we decided to act out what we had just been learning about and that night we, a small group of 18-24 year olds, gave whatever we could to make sure that our friend had what she needed. We were able to stand together and rejoice as the poverty a friend was facing disappeared. If that wasn’t good enough, we were able to find other people that were able to commit to supporting her until she was able to find a job and become financially independent. Amazingly, with the added support and encouragement that process didn’t take very long.
Solidarity was a concept that became a reality that night and the power of it was tremendous.
Imagine what we could do if we practiced this within our towns, cities and countries? What would happen if we showed solidarity between countries and nations and even religions?
If a group of young students could get together and make sure that the needs of one of their friends was met, imagine what could happen if a group of wealthy businesses, governments or even faith communities could achieve if they were to pool their resources, enthusiasm and action in solidarity towards issues such as child and maternal health, malaria and extreme poverty? I think it is appropriate to start dreaming!
There are some wonderful organizations and initiatives that are already making positive steps in solidarity of these issues. Wonderful work is being done to promote awareness, raise finances and work together to ensure that positive action is increased so that the effects of extreme poverty can be decreased. This year from December 10th-20th The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is joining these works through SolidariTEA. SolidariTEA is a simple way to unite people from all faiths, ages and walks of life by using a simple common point of interest such as ‘tea’ to facilitate a display of solidarity about the issues of extreme poverty. The best part about it is that it is easy for you to be involved! All the information required to host your own SolidariTEA is available at www.faithsact.org/solidaritea.
As you initiate your own experiences I hope that you too are inspired as you see the tremendous power of solidarity as it becomes a reality in your life!
Noun: Unity and agreement and feeling and action, esp. among individuals with a common interest with mutual support from all groups towards ending poverty in our world.