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Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Join hands, disciples of the faith,
whate’er your race may be.
All children of the living God
Are surely kin to me.
In Christ now meet both east and west;
In him meet south and north.
All Christly souls are one in him
throughout the whole wide earth.
“In Christ There Is No East or West” (vv. 3–4) by John Oxenham
Hymn 317, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
One of the very interesting consciousness-raising moments that is emerging in the middle of our global pandemic is the sudden realization (for some of us) about just how deeply connected we all are. What happens in China affects Italy. What happens in Italy affects those in the UK. What happens in the UK affects those in Ecuador. What happens in Ecuador affects those in the USA. What happens in the USA affects those in Nigeria. (And no, I am not trying to trace the spread. I am just making a point.) In a very recent TED Talk on navigating the pandemic with courage and hope, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke of his deep hope that this season might encourage us to begin building a “we” culture again, rather than continuing in the strong “I” culture that has taken over most of our Western communities. I hope so too.
As this hymn reminds us, “we” is in our DNA. This particular hymn focuses on the Christian part of God’s family, but many of us in the theologically Reformed Presbyterian tradition trust that every single human has been made in God’s image and is a part of God’s larger family. God’s larger family includes us but is not limited to us.
It would be something, wouldn’t it, if one of the decisions we made as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was to purposefully rebuild the “we” culture? That rebuilding will take commitment, energy, political maneuvering, and spiritual grounding. But imagine what might change if we chose to work towards it.
Gracious God, help me to think past “me.” Help me to lift my eyes and to see, really see, all people as kin. Give to me the conviction to live out my faith promise that I am indeed part if the “we” that is lodged in you. Continue to be with those who are sick and scared. We pray for your healing to descend, O God. We are waiting. Amen.
Written by Shannon J. Kershner, Pastor
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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