As an introvert, I struggle to find a place in a faith community. Does God really want us to join in?
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.James 5:16 MSG
Is Your Faith Community Like a Dolphin Pod?
“Look to nine o’clock, and you’ll see a bottlenose dolphin!” the captain of the whale-watching tour announced. We rushed to the port side and crowded eagerly around the railing.
“Do you see it?” I asked one of my students.
“Over dere,” he said, indicating an area close to the side of the boat.
A dolphin launched out of the water in a graceful arc and shallow dive. We watched in awe as another one appeared and then another. Within minutes, an entire pod of 60 offshore bottlenose dolphins surrounded the ship. I rushed from side to side and from bow to aft, enchanted by the nursery pod and the expressions on my students’ faces. Most of my kids had never seen the ocean, much less a dolphin.
A small group of bow-riding dolphins turned on their sides as they swam to get a look at the passengers leaning over the rail. One mischievous dolphin body-slammed the water right next to the boat—soaking everyone who watched.
From my vantage point, I could see myriad battle scars on the backs of the dolphins. Each carried a unique pattern of grazes along their sleek backs. Some even had small chunks of fin missing from encounters with sharks. Oh, the stories they could tell.
We even saw Patches, a partially leucistic dolphin. Leucism in animals occurs as a result of partial loss of pigmentation of multiple types of pigment, not just melanin. Despite Patches’ obvious difference from the other dolphins, she remained part of the group. No one ostracized her because of her unusual coloring. With her black and white skin patches, another animal might initially mistake her for a killer whale from a distance.
How Dolphin Pods Work
Female dolphins and their offspring travel together in large pods for community and protection. They babysit each other’s kids. They fish together and play together. In short, they do community—skin problems, scars, and all.
We could learn a lot about living in a faith community from dolphins. They know the benefits of doing life together. Despite their differences and scars, they accept each other. They have fun together.
Father God, help me to act more like a dolphin in my faith community. Let me love everyone equally because they belong to you, not because they are like me. Show me ways to reach out and welcome those who look or act differently from me. You created us to serve you—which means serving your other children. Show me who to love today.