/// This the the fourth and final post in our LBF:Book Club series on Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Father Greg Boyle. See the first three posts here and here and here. ///
Mother Teresa says it like this: If we have no peace, it’s because we have forgotten we belong to each other. I think it safe to say, most the world, Christians included, have indeed forgotten we belong to each other.
We draw lines, build fences, pray for hedges and shrink our circles. We stay in our Christian bubbles and keep our kids there with us. We read about war and famine and bombings and ISIS and through up a prayer for “those people.”
A quick scroll through my Facebook feed is all I need to glimpse a world of people who have forgotten we belong to each other.
The one possible exception to this relational norm is marriage. You may be thinking marriage is different from other relationships we have, and it’s true, it is. Biblical marriage is a covenant, or promise, between three people: two spouses, one God.
On our wedding day we boldly proclaim:
I take you Fellow Sinner,
to be my partner in life,
to have and to cuddle,
from this day to forever,
for good and for hard,
for consistent paychecks
and for overdrawn bank accounts,
in cancer wings and in CrossFit gyms,
to love and to cherish-ish,
till death takes us apart.
We belong to each other.
Basically, I am in your corner ’til the wheels fall off.
But I wonder, what would happen if we declared this to one another? If we spoke it over those we’ve labeled as “other“?
I’m not suggesting we lower the relational bar for marriage, but I am asking us to explore what it would look like to make a similar commitment to our fellow human beings. Because, as Father G says, kinship is what happens when we live like we belong to each other.
You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. – Father G, Tattoos on the Heart
What would happen if we show up for people when they can’t show up for themselves? If we “see in homies what they don’t see in themselves… until they do.”
Jesus is very clear on his most important mandates to us as his followers:
He doesn’t leave room for debate here. The disciples can’t argue what Jesus means by “love.” (Possibly the way we “love” when he turns water into wine? What do you think guys?)
to be my kin in this life,
to belong to each,
from this day to forever,
for joy and for lament,
for when you show up
and when you don’t,
for when I sin against you
and you sin against me,
for smiles and hurt feelings,
for apologies and forgiveness…
’til the wheels fall off.