“This we know: All things are connected like blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”
~ Chief Seattle
Psalm 133: 1
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
Ephesians 4: 1-4, 25, 29-32
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling…So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another…Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Have you ever bullied someone?! I have. Shame on me! Have you ever been bullied?! I have. In both situations, I was not left with a very good feeling about myself. Thank God we are forgiven, and can learn to forgive others, as well as ourselves. These three texts talk about unity, about being part of the one body. I see this one body as the whole of creation; the people, the creatures, the earth. I am merely one cell of that body, being a necessary part, with familial obligations. As long as I remain connected to, and interacting appropriately with the whole, life is as it was intended: heavenly. If we can see each other as brothers and sisters in truth, our love for each other will overpower any negative actions that may upset another, causing stress on the fabric of our life. We are being asked to love each other as though we are from the same family. I see where that can be a real struggle sometimes. Comments I have heard include, “That person is not my family.”- “I would only do that for family.” – “No one knows the love of family, if they don’t have one.” I am adopted. I was raised to righteously stand up for the truth that says blood is not the only thing that makes a family. I have found that this statement sometimes causes discomfort; often indignation, openly justified by my perceived lack of understanding of bloodlines and genetic backgrounds. How could I possibly know?! Paul knew. The psalmist knew. They knew that we are part of the human family first, charged with the care and maintenance of all creation. They knew that blood does not necessarily assure that a family situation will exist in peace. They knew that there is a lot of love and work that goes into keeping the family safe, secure, and living in peace. They knew a lot of amazingly radical things and thankfully shared them with us. Now, we know!
Holy Spirit of God, thank you for marking me with the capacity to love so deeply. Even when I struggle with my feelings towards a sister or brother, you are there, reminding me we are family, and we are in this together. Please continue to guide me to use my words and actions to always encourage and build up our family members, treating them as the children of God that we all are. Amen.
Focus for the Day: I will embrace my capacity to love deeply, and share it with others without fear.