Optimism has always been a fun place for my mind to rest. I love looking at the glass half full, and seeing the best in people. When the chips are down, it’s my pleasure to bend down and sweep them all together in a basket to hold them until an idea comes to figure things out. However, there are slivers in time when I can barely grasp a seemingly normal thought, let alone point my mind toward the positivity of God’s future or present plan. Some days I feel wrung out like a pair of kids sock after playing in the mud outside all day. And not the new socks either. Like the holey one where the foot is barely contained in the cloth. Just plain tired. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, spiritually. Thank God for people in the body of Christ who help scoop the pieces off the floor.
Have you ever been there?
Who am I kidding? We have all been there. Although, many of us cover it up with a fake, totally unconvincing, “I’m fine!” Hoping that no-one will see through all the Maybeline that we are scrapping by on a prayer and a cup of coffee. Shoving all our “real” feelings down like a bad meal served by a friend you don’t want to offend. But why? Many of us priding ourselves on the false premise that we “don’t care what people think”, all the while covering every real detail of life with a blanket of shimmery “all together”. Guess what? No one is convinced. And…… NO ONE has it all together!!!! So we might as well all fall apart together, so that we can be put back together… TOGETHER. Somehow the together part seems to be the tough part. Falling apart in secret seems to be more popular, and more detrimental.
Paul gives perfectly simple instructions on this in the wisdom he writes to the church of Rome:
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”
There is much “togetherness” in this portion of Scripture. Much “one another”. Much “those”. Paul encourages unity and community among the church beyond simply showing up. We seem to get the “one” part right and forget about the “another” part (please excuse all my quotations). Our faith walk cannot be as vibrant and fully lived without the two words working together. Without us being mindful and willing to engage in the “one another” aspect of the church fabric. We absolutely cannot “keep it real” and “mind our own business” at the same time. We cannot expect authentic relationship without vulnerability. And the result of only presenting our “church” selves to our church family is, families are falling right before our eyes. Children are in addiction right before our eyes. Fathers are absent right before our eyes. Mothers are shattered right before our eyes. Hopelessness is engulfing right before our eyes. The Spirit of God is grieved right before our eyes. Souls sit in our pews unsaved right before our eyes. Pride is wreaking havoc right before our eyes. The name of Christ is being shamed right before our eyes. The Gospel is being watered down right before our eyes. Righteousness is being lost right before our eyes. RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES!
We cannot afford to carry on this way. Ask the tough questions. Mind their business. And let someone mind yours. As a family in Christ, we must be willing to take off the bedazzled shoe of “fine” and reveal the muddy sock of real life happening. Who cares if people judge you. They’re going to do it any way. You might as well get healed and whole along the way. Let us share with one another. Love one another. Rejoice with one another. Weep with one another. Be with one another. Be FOR one another. Because we need the one another. The one another is you, is me, is US. The one another is the body of Christ. The parts together, not divided.
“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:2-6
Let’s be active in the “another”.