Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bearing with One Another - 1. Broken Love

This is the first of a series of Lenten posts on bearing with one another when we disagree. As a bishop, I am particularly interested in how we bear with one another in the Church, but this has relevance in all of our relationships.

We are made for love, made for relationship, for community. Giving and receiving love in community – the community of marriage and family, of friendships, of the neighborhood, of the nation, etc. – is basic to what it means to be human.

But, if we are honest with ourselves, we are not very good at it. There is a deep brokenness in all of our relationships. Divorce, estrangement from family members and friends, racial and ethnic tensions, divisiveness in politics, and wars between nations are all evidence of this brokenness. Even at our best our love limps and falls short of what we intend. All of our loves, all of our relationships, all of our communities are in need of healing.

The root of our fractured love and broken relationships is described poetically in the first chapters of Genesis in the Bible. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, who is Love, and, doing so, created a schism between themselves and God. This resulted in division between Adam and Eve and then the schism of brother against brother leading to murder.

It was to heal this schism between humanity and God and among humans that Jesus came into our midst  taking on our humanity, teaching, healing, dying on the cross, and rising again. Jesus established the Church as the community of new creation and fills it with his Spirit to bear witness to that healing.

Christians have not always done a good job of leading a life worthy of this calling to which we have been called. Lent is a good time to take a fresh look at that vocation and rededicate ourselves to learning to live it more truly. It is precisely to relearn love that God calls us into the community of the Church. This includes loving one another when we disagree.

Tomorrow we will look at a passage from the Letter to the Ephesians that describes the kind of community of love to which the Church (and, by extension, humanity) is called.

Bearing with One Another

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