Tuesday, September 10, 2019
we not me
“Christians should put survival of the planet ahead of national security...Here is the mystery of our global responsibility: that we are in communion with Christ- and we are in communion with all people...The fact that the people of Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Russia, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia are our brothers and sisters is not obvious. People kill each other by the thousands and do not see themselves as brothers and sisters. If we want to be real peace-makers, national security cannot be our primary concern. Our primary concern should be survival of humanity, the survival of the planet, and the health of all people. Whether we are Russians, Iraqis, Ethiopians, or North Americans, we belong to the same human family that God loves. And we have to start taking some risks- not just individually, but risks of a more global quality, risks to let other people develop their own independence, risks to share our wealth with others and invite refugees to our country, risks to offer sanctuary- because we are people of God”
Henri J.M. Nouwen
It is not by accident that the two great sacraments of the [protestant] church are baptism and communion
In baptism we are baptized into a community
In communion the community gathers around the common table, eats a common meal, celebrates the assimilation of the Sacred, and experiences communion with one the One and with one another.
Although there are stories about individuals in the Bible, those stories are always woven into a larger story, about a community of faith, a nation.
It appears certain that any faith system that really taps into that truth, that reality we often call God, is also a faith system that is communal by nature.
It is always about “we” more than it is about “me”
When the prophets call for repentance and transformation, they call for the nation
To change its ways, for the nation to be redeemed
That is because, in some profound ways, sin is corporate, communal by nature
We make a mistake, I think, when we make the concept of “salvation” primarily personal.
Once my relationship with God is about “my salvation” it is deeply tainted.
My salvation must be deeply tied to the salvation of those around me, and my community, my nation,
And yes, even my world!
Jesus, when talked about what God was bringing forth, did not talk about individuals, or even countries, he talked about a new “heaven and a new earth”.
I am convinced contemporary, American Christianity has lost its way because it has developed and individualist, “me” oriented approach to faith.
It is my relationship with God
God responds to me and blesses ME
Or punishes ME
God provides ME with power or wealth or safety
And if THEY are not me, or aren’t part of my crowd, my church, my party, my nation
A faith that takes seriously the fact that God loves all, is for all, is in all,
And that this God calls us all into community
Must see faith differently
Must live faith differently
Such a faith will work to get the Kingdom into the world
As hard as it works to get individuals tickets to heaven
Such a faith will work to redeem social and political structures
Those structures that oppress and minimize
As hard as it works to redeem individuals
Such a faith community will realize that it must be immersed in the community in which it exists, rather than sitting safely together in a sanctuary, singing hymns
And piously celebrating that is not like “THEM”
Such a faith could never embrace essential selfishness
A philosophy of life that builds walls, excludes immigrants, stacks the economic system for the rich, shames the poor, abandons the vulnerable, minimizes women, and bully and oppress those it chooses not to value, or sees as enemies.
Because this faith system is all about radical connection
And is about all of us working together
Helping each other
“We are put here to help each other. Otherwise, why?
“We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”
(Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country)