Above, Through, In: Our Deep Connection
by Dan Licardo
Our desire to connect with family and friends reaches a peak during Advent and the holiday season. Few people want to be alone on Christmas and New Year's Eve, and many feel distant from God.
Social networking via Facebook, Twitter, email, instant messaging, and texting have made communicating easier and faster. But our constant media activity can render us, in T. S. Eliot's words, "distracted from distraction by distraction," without satisfying the need to connect in a rich way.
Though I've passed them every week for many years, recently I happened to notice the following verses carved in gilt letters on the marble wall of the lobby of New York's Interchurch Center (the building that houses the General Board of Global Ministries and other faith agencies and nonprofit organizations):
"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 us all, who is above all, and through all, and in all." (Ephesians 4:4-6)
The desire to draw closer to (or create more distance from) others is based on the idea that we are basically separate beings. On a physical level, yes, we occupy different bodies in various places on earth, with different beliefs and politics and cultures.
But Paul in his letter to the Ephesians says that we are all one unified body and very much one with God, "who is above all, and through all, and in all." Our sense of separation is only perceptual.
The anxiety of wanting to keep others away or bring them closer, the sense that we are not situated as we should be in relation to friends or enemies (individual and national) comes from appearances--not spiritual reality.
Underneath (above, through, in) it all, we are more deeply connected than even the busiest social networker/butterfly could hope to be. We are and have been parts of one whole body all along, sharing one heart.
No work or effort is involved here, just a shift in seeing how things actually stand. Our fundamental connection is neither based on words nor dependent on further communication or information.
It is based in Spirit, a pre-existing unity that needs only to be recognized: "A place that has to be believed to be seen." (U2, "Walk On")
We are already thoroughly interwoven through God to each other. But we cannot experience this timeless deep connection in a barrage of tweets and posts and texts.
We experience it through prayer and meditation. In silence, whether communal or personal, and in resting from our compulsive mental merry-go-round, we realize how thoroughly embedded we are in God's presence, a foundation that connects us with others.
There is no place we can go where God is not, no person we can meet who does not already have God above, through, or within her.
"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." (Psalm 139:7-10, KJV)
Dan Licardo is the web editor for Global Ministries.
Date posted: Dec 15, 2010