The Blue Skates
The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. – Acts 4:32 (MSG)
The darkish blue athletic shoes with three 70s-yellow stripes down the side had long yellow laces and dull yellow soles attached to a silver bar with dirty yellow wheels. It’s magical how my four siblings and I could share one pair of skates, fitting snugly for the older siblings and baggily for us younger ones.
We created this game where two siblings had one skate each. Kinda like a skateboard, we propelled ourselves with the skateless foot. The left skater had to chase and tag the right skater before getting to the end of the hallway. On the way back, the right skater chased the left skater. Then the next two siblings skated the next round.
I never learned how we acquired those used blue skates, but they’re symbolic of some of the best times of my life. It’s amazing how well we got along—creatively, even—with all the sharing we had to do. Make no mistake, though; we had our disputes, often over the pettiest things. Because our family didn’t have much, we learned how to squeeze value from our relationships with each other and our shared imaginations.
Similarly, our biblical ancestors illuminate the importance of a shared economy. Indeed, if we aren’t obsessed with personal possessions and instead share even what seems unshareable, we’ll be amazed at how our relationships deepen, even when we’re disagreeing. Sharing unlocks our imaginations and enables us to co-create a just world for all.
Sharing One, reignite our imaginations and stretch our capacities to offer and accept each other’s gifts with creativity and compassion. Amen.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement of the United Church of Christ. They are also the Founder of Salus Center, the only LGBTQ resource and community center in Lansing, MI.