In the church, we talk a lot about community and what it means. The above picture is a group of female elephants, and it is an example of true community that is found in nature. You see, in the wild, when a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so that the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent.
They surround the laboring mama, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first. And, when the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things (1) they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and (2) they all start trumpeting … a celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.
Scientists tell us that they normally take this formation only in two cases – under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant.
This is what community looks like. When our brothers and sisters are vulnerable, when they are giving birth to new life, new ideas, new ministries, new space, when they are under attack, when they need their people to surround them so they can create, deliver, heal, recover … we get in formation. We close ranks and literally have each other’s backs.
And when deliverance comes, when new life makes its entrance, when healing finally begins, when the night has passed and our sister or brother is ready to rise back up, we sound our trumpets because we saw it through together. We celebrate! We cheer! We give thanks.
We celebrate this eternal community God made possible when He gave His only Son to die in our place and rise again to new life, breaking the bondage of death.