WEEK TWO: RELATIONSHIPS
Ephesians 4: 1-6
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, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
As part of our history class, we were shown a short silent film about the Civil War. The story begins with two young twin brothers happily playing together. We then witness their deep sadness as they are separated to live with different relatives after their parents die. The final profound and emotional scene is when they recognize each other years later. They are facing each other on opposite sides of a Civil War battlefield. Once close-knit, loving brothers have now become enemies, only because of such life circumstances as their location and family upbringing.
This profound, sad story continues today- all over the world.
We all are one family of God. As Paul says in Ephesians, we have “one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Every person is God’s beloved child. Not only are we connected as ‘family’ with one Father, we are also connected by God within us! And God created this world as one home for all of us to live together in unity and peace.
But like the boys in the movie, we too, have separated and then become enemies with one another. We are born as innocent siblings of God’s one human family. Then we begin to see differences (and we are taught differences), and we divide ourselves according to culture, race, gender, religious belief, family upbringing, political party, nationality, and so on. We divide our one world- a world that is meant to be shared- by country, state, neighborhood, school system, individual property lines, and income levels. And so we forget that we are all kindred brothers and sisters, with the same God over us and within us.
Note this: these two young men, except for fate and circumstance, could each have ended up on the other side from where they stood! You and I are standing where we are, believing what we believe, belonging where we belong- mainly because of our life experiences and what we have learned to be our truth along the way. We could easily have been born in another time, another place, under different circumstances, and our truth would be much different.
We each could have become our own enemy.
Today, may we strive to recognize one another as kindred people connected by God on this one world. Today, may we look beyond our differences in order to recognize one another…
as brothers and sisters
as fellow human beings
as children of God
as fellow travelers through life
as sharers of this one world
as Jesus (“as much as you did to the least of these, you did to me…”)
as sacred vessels of God within
… as ourselves.
Can you recall any lessons or “truths” that you once were taught but no longer hold true?
What circumstances in your life do you regard as blessings? Are there any you consider hindrances?
Who has been an example of unity and love for you? Is there a saint who has helped you find the commonalities we all share within our diversity? Have you been that saint for others?
Is there someone in your heart whom you need to recognize with a new, loving vision?
Loving God and Father of ALL,
We know that your desire is that we live in unity and peace, to love and serve you, and to love one another as ourselves. Forgive us for the many ways we choose to see differences instead of connections and similarities! Help us to recognize ourselves in others. Most of all, help us to recognize YOU in all of us. Amen.