building a better c[h]ord.
i’ll be honest with you. i’ve always seen faith as a solitary endeavor, that is, something that transpires between you and G-D only. until recently, i had never thought about how our relationships with other people work into that. it has always seemed that how i interact with those around me; how i love them or don’t, care for them or turn the other way, how each of these decisions are some sort of by-product to my faith. they are essentially the result of my relationship to/with G-D.
last week i was delivering chinese, per usual, and thinking about this very concept. the one advantage of delivering is that it affords me plenty of time to think and be alone. i think G-D has been laying the idea of “community” on my heart recently, perhaps because i have begun my search for a new community somewhere in these united states. i’m hesitant to move somewhere i don’t know anyone; i don’t think i know how to “meet” people. anyway, this has all coincided with several conversations with close friends about the importance of having a good community in which to live. my friend josh had a revelation last month, as he quit his job and took a train to montana for a week. he told me that he realized the importance of those whom you surround yourself with. he said he discovered out there in the wild that it’s not WHERE you are, so much as WHO YOU ARE WITH that determines the quality of life. and just yesterday, timbre and i were talking about the simple way christian commune in philadelphia. there seems to be an uprising of young christians in our generation who are returning to the roots of the church, to those simple ideas of living by love for your neighbors and being in fellowship with your brothers and sisters in CHRIST. donald miller speaks about it alot; the fella who started the simple way has written an entire book on communes that i hear is incredible (it’s on my list-to-read).
basically what i’m getting at is this: i’m not really seeing the way in which i love my neighbor as a by-product of my faith so much as an interwoven piece of it. i used to think that if i loved G-D, then i would love people, but i think the relationship within that “if/then” statement is much more intimate, to the point where they are indivisible. to love G-D IS to love my fellow man (and woman). a by-product in industry is something created after the fact, but if i don’t love my neighbors, then my relationship with G-D comes into jeopardy. essentially, i can’t have one without the other. i think in some way this changes the dynamic of how i treat people. it’s like the verses in ecclesiastes say:
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
it’s necessary to our survival to bond together with our brothers and sisters. i like how in these two verses solomon talks about how two is better than one, yet the “punchline” infers that the strongest existence is in a triad; that is, when G-D is woven in and among the other two strands. this is a favorite verse at weddings for that very reason. it’s a great analogy.
i’m hoping that as the LORD reveals more of these mysteries to me that i can start changing how i interact with those around me. i have been pretty ashamed of myself on several occasions in these past few months for the way i’ve treated people. people i don’t know. people that i care about a great deal. i’ve felt like the priest and the levite who passed by the wounded man on the side of the road in the parable of the good samaritan. i’ve been zaccheus, taking advantage of those who trust me. i feel like i could sit right among the tax collectors and sinners that CHRIST dined with so often. but i feel redeemed to know that HE came here to restore community; not just community among HIS people, but that three-stranded type of community, a community built on relationships between G-D and man. a community that cannot break.