Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…
I spent last week as the “manny.” Granddaughter Vivian and her family reside in McCall, Idaho. It is a wonderful community, situated on beautiful Payette Lake, at an elevation of 5,000 feet, in the Idaho wilderness. Vivian (named after my father – isn’t that a hoot?) is two, and she owns my heart. It is a testament to my relationship with my daughter, Jhen, that when childcare is an issue, “Dad” often gets the call. It was during the ten-hour drive home, bouncing between different podcasts, that I heard this line, “We need more interdependence, and less heroes.”
I cannot tell you what that line was a part of, what lecture or show it emanated from. You might know. It obviously stuck… “We need more interdependence and less heroes.” My imagination has been held captive by that line. At its most basic level it is counter-intuitive, since we tend to look for the hero when times get tough. Indians are attacking, and where is John Wayne? The Empire is preparing to destroy the Rebellion, and where is Luke Skywalker? The country is a mess, seemingly imploding under the weight of a pandemic and centuries of systemic racism, and where is our political hero to save us from ourselves? It seems that that is part of our problem. In our need, we are susceptible to elevating mortal leaders to cult status, and then we become stuck in the knowledge that we either blindly follow or we have to admit we took a wrong turn somewhere.
It seems to me that interdependence is, in fact, two things. It is recognizing, at its most basic level, that all of our lives are intrinsically woven together and that, secondly, we have a need for one another. Some mother’s suffering (or success) in a far-off state or country is not isolated to just their experience. Somehow, in the economy of God’s creation, that is in some mysterious way my suffering, or success. And the choices I make can equally affect that mother. We do not need another hero; we need to embrace a life of intentional interdependence. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus we are reminded there is no “other;” there is no “saved” or… there is only the redeemed. There is “us.” This epiphany just about slayed Paul. His entire life was righteous because he was the master at dividing the clean from the unclean. His world was turned upside down when he penned the church at Galatia, “In Christ… there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Or, there is no other. Sin is separation. In Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, he charged the church to be mindful that our Lord “…has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors.” Our Lord is making his appeal through us. Resist any voice that would divide us; there is no other.
Indulge me one last example: in Acts (2:44-45, 4:32-35), as opposed to some experiment in socialism, the followers of Jesus found delight in sharing their possessions such that no one had need. Sharing did not mean I would have less; it meant everyone would have more. Nothing divides us more than our wealth, our material possessions. We are, in terms of the world, for all practical purposes, one-percenters. Our responsibility is to seek economic justice while finding joy in sharing, for that is my brother and sister out there, and their failure or success is mine. Such is the life of intentional interdependence. Jesus is our humble hero; we need no other. And for my Viv’s sake (as is true for all children of the world) it is both my fervent prayer and guiding light that the world comes to understand that “there is no other.” We have need of one another.
Stay connected, we need each other, one day closer.
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