Friday, November 4, 2016

Justice Devotional - Connectedness

Devotion to Justice
A series of devotions from the Justice table on the topics of
  • Women and children
  • Hunger and poverty
  • Creation care
  • Immigration
Galatians 5:13-14

I always held a keen interest for geography, specifically the inter- relationship between places and people. The relationship between a given landscape and how its inhabitants interact with it continues to intrigue me. The first law of geography states that, “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things” (Tobler, 1970). As a graduate student in geospatial sciences, I began to see beyond statistical relationships. I became increasingly aware of how we are connected to one another more than we realize. People are connected to each other because of their proximity to one another. Faith communities are connected to each other because of our willingness to listen deeply and compassionately to one another’s stories. Our relationship to one another is bridged as a result of connectedness. For many geographers, connectedness is difficult to quantify. Yet, somehow the depth of our connectedness is correlated to our proximity in distance we have with one another.

Connectedness can be experienced as we laugh, mourn, rejoice, worship and fellowship with each other.

Connectedness is found in appreciating diversity without expecting conformity or homogeneity.

Connectedness is never done instantaneously neither is it an easy passive task. While connectedness takes time to foster, connectedness isn’t weakened overnight. When we trivialize another human being’s experiences, we distance ourselves. When our social sphere has a price of admission or appears inclusive to individuals of similar culture, education, and socio-economics, we distance ourselves. When issues like poverty, marginalization and disenfranchisement are articulated as “THE poor,” “THE marginalized,” and “THE disenfranchised,” we distance ourselves. Little by little the distance causes disconnection. As a people of faith, we value connectedness. Where do we start? Perhaps a good way is to prepare our hearts and have room for others. Let us go forth prayerfully and faithfully as we seek to establish connectedness and meaningful relationships. May we continue to seek the Holy Spirit help guide us into deeper fellowship with one another. In the process, let us awaken our senses to God’s loving compassion for all humanity and creation. With Jesus our prime example of our faith, may we go forth!

Lynette Li: Seminarian at Phillips Theological, Oklahoma Region Worked with General Youth Council on GA programming Immigration and Refugees

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