Buffalos are known for their unity of purpose, empathy and inclusion, living in large numbers to discourage predators, surrounding and protecting weaker members of the group, and coming to the aid of ones who are caught alone and in distress.
Did you know that one noun for a group of buffalo is an “obstinacy”? They are by nature non discriminatory and inclusive of all those in their species. Much can be learned from this wild animal when we think about community!
Buffaloes are unwilling to change course or give up on something.
Imagine if we were obstinate in our pursuit of community…
1 Thessalonians 5:14 says “Brothers and sisters, we urge you…….encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone….always try to do good to each other and to all people”.
The Body of Christ is a community. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. There are times when we go it alone, either intentionally or inadvertently, and find ourselves as prey for predators with no one in sight to defend or protect us – so we place a distress call and trust that our herd will respond and come to our defence.
We go through times when we are lame due to recent attack or a stumble, and we rely on our herd to surround us and protect and carry us until we have strengthened and healed.
There are times when we feel as though we don’t belong, wondering where we fit, and we need our herd to treat us with inclusion and compassion, going out of their way to make us feel we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
What if buffaloes surveyed each other and thought that one of the herd wasn’t walking in the correct way, or wearing their coats or horns in the coolest way possible? What if they didn’t ‘snort’ correctly when trying to communicate with the herd?
What if some buffalo got left out of the herd without all its protections and support because they didn’t fit the standardised accepted version of their species?
As Christ’s body are we looking outside of ourselves, and perhaps our comfort zones, to our brothers and sisters around us, in order to include, show empathy and foster community in its truest sense?
When we consider Jesus when He was on earth and how He behaved in community with all kinds of people, how does this inspire us to offer that same inclusion to the marginalised, lonely and over looked people around us?
“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it”
1 Corinthians 12:27
The beauty of buffalo society is that each member is ‘stubbornly’ included in the day to day life of the herd.
May we as Christ’s body look for ways to foster community and inclusion, being responsive to each other’s needs so that we can spur and encourage one another on.