Created to be together, we join in the collective work of God’s healing and love.
Vicar Andrea Bonneville
The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Lect. 27 B
Texts: Genesis 2:18-24; Mark 10:2-16
Beloved in Christ, grace and peace to you in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
What God has joined together, let no one separate (Mark 10:9).
Yet there is so much division and destruction. Walls being built, both metaphorically and physically, to keep people apart. Laws created to separated families and communities of people. Systems of privilege creating a hierarchy and forcing segregation based on race, economics, employment, housing, geography. Judgement and perceptions from within that create and us vs. them mentality, pitting individuals and groups of people against each other as if competition and achievement mean more than kindness and love.
It is not good that the human should be alone (Genesis 2:18).
Yet there are so many individualist and egocentric ways of thinking. Keeping humanity at the center of the created world while the rest of creation suffers. Individuals competing for their own success rather than joining in our collective work of shared progress.
Not to forget what we often forget about which is the significant loneliness people experience because of strained relationships, changes in both physical and mental health, underemployment, or just not being welcomed into a place where they can be their full selves.
We are continuing to learn what the Triune God learned as the Spirit, the very breath of God, brought forth life from dust creating a human. Learning that a human was never intended to be alone, but that this human needed another human to join together in what would become their shared humanity, their life together with God and with all of creation tending to the needs of the earth, the concerns of their community, and the commitment to future generations.
Hearing the Holy Scriptures for today stirs in us all sorts of different perceptions about what it means to be in relationship. Listening to it makes us think of the strained relationships in our lives and in our families, the broken relationship between humans and creation and the restorative work ahead, the ways that we have experience the beauty of the relationships that go beyond a male and female binary, the loneliness that we experience remembering a partner or hoping one day for a union.
Even in all the challenges, we hear the overarching promise from God that starts at the very beginning our story, the promise that we will never be alone. A story that starts at the beginning of creation, traveled through the wilderness, proclaimed by the prophets, and embodied in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
A promise that invited even the most vulnerable in our communities, like children, into the loving and healing embrace of Christ reminding us that the promise of God’s reign, was never intended for just one group of people, but for each and every person created in the image of God.
A promise that will shake the core of what we know in this world as healing takes place in unexpected places and unexpected people, as rulers are suffocated of their power, where the rich are made poor and the poor are made rich, where the table extends even beyond our reach to where the people of God in all walks of life can come to feast on this life-giving meal at Christ table.
Our work then continues to be the work of reconciliation and caring for all who are vulnerable in our midst. It becomes to listen to the stirring of the Spirit in our lives as she leads us toward the division and loneliness of our community bringing unity and hope.
Today’s teachings are challenging, particularly because of the interpretations from both well intended and no so well intended people that have only created further division. But at the heart is the reminder that human relationships are complicated and that being in community will always take tending and nurturing just like we are created to tend to and nurture the earth. And that our lives together don’t fall on conditional promises but are united through the unconditional love and promise of God.
Reminding us, that for the most part, we are better when we are together.
Better when we are in partnerships that are respectful, honest, and loving. Better when we are in communities and can show up as our full vulnerable selves loving who we love, sharing our passions and energy. Better when we are in creation listening to the birds, hearing the crashing of the waves, watching the changing leaves remind us of the change to come.
Better when we are learning and being challenged to grow in community. Better when we are caring with and for our neighbors. Better when we are actively serving God bringing forth God’s reign in which forgiveness, healing, and love are at the center of who we are and what we do.
Going out into our communities with grace over law, love over rule, and compassion beyond anything that we can comprehend. Breaking bread that unites us together. Joining in the work our Creator has created us to do.