Connecting Our Narratives
The first question asked by a human in the bible is asked by Cain. After he rose up against his brother, Abel, and killed him, God comes asking Cain where Abel is. Cain’s response is, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
It is a question that is asked over and over throughout human history. Are we responsible for our siblings … our fellow humans? There are so many times when we don’t want to have to care … when we don’t care. That question is implicit in the ways we have enslaved, abused, slaughtered, and declared war on one another.
We only want to be in relationship with people who either look like us or who agree with our religious, political, or social views. We tend to find it easy to create an “us” versus “them” way of thinking and behaving.
Yet God created us for relationship, which is often the hardest thing to do.
This Sunday will mark the one year anniversary of our last worship service together. During this pandemic, the thing that stands out to me as a pastor is how much we miss being with other people. We are people who are hardwired to be in relationship, and this past twelve months has highlighted for me just how much we need each other.
As I shared in yesterday’s blog post, we have a God who comes walking alongside us … who identifies with us through our life, our suffering, and our death … yet what cannot be left out is that, because of that connection with us, we are also called to live deeply into our connections with others.
Henri Nouwen talks about this connection in much of his work, but he says it well in his book, The Living Reminder: Service and Prayer in Memory of Jesus Christ:
We have inherited a story which needs to be told in such a way that the many painful wounds about which we hear day after day can be liberated from their isolation and be revealed as part of God’s relationship with us. Healing means revealing that our human wounds are most intimately connected with the suffering of God…. By lifting our painful forgotten memories out of the egocentric, individualistic, private sphere, Jesus Christ heals our pains. He connects them with the pain of all humanity, a pain he took upon himself and transformed.
That connection with God is intimately lived out in human community. The greater pathology and the most devastating brokenness is lived out in isolation. Yet when we live deeply into how God has connected us to one another, we discover that there is healing beyond the brokenness and life beyond death.
God who connects us to one another: Remind us that we belong to one another, and remind us of the healing and hope that is born of that connection. Amen.