Not Good?

The topic was unity.

It was World Communion Sunday this last weekend and we celebrated Jesus’ final meal by eating and drinking together, thinking about the Christians from all the different tribes of the world that were eating and drinking too.

We reminded ourselves of Jesus’ life and death. We let Paul speak to us in Galatians where he boldly claimed that we “have clothed ourselves with Christ” and that in Christ “there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female.” We reminded ourselves that because of Jesus, we were one people.

Because of Jesus, the three most important shapers of our identity (race, gender, and occupation) were each subjected to something greater. Jesus himself destroyed the racism, sexism, and classism that seem to come part and parcel with race, sex, and class.

Then Monday came and I went to school.

Our Hebrew class read from Genesis where God kept creating things and calling them “tov”, “tov”, “tov” (good, good, good). Then God finally created man, called him “tov” like everything else, thought about it for a minute, and said “lo-tov” (not good)!

God said that it was lo-tov specifically for man to be alone (this being the first time God ever declared something “bad”). Everything else in the universe up to that point in the story was completely good, because God said it was. This one thing wasn’t.

Because it is not good for humans to be alone.

In fact, I think that everything in the world which is not good contributes, somehow, to the alone-ness of human beings.

Think about it.

David Hayward over at “The NakedPastor” recently weighed in on loneliness with one of his beautiful sketches:

(photo credit: David Hayward)
(photo credit: David Hayward)

This ancient foe of the human race is the very giant that Jesus came to slay. It is in Jesus that we come together and truly experience one another.

It is because we were loved and forgiven that we can love and forgive- accepting one another and communing with each other.

But it’s scary. It’s scary because we know that it doesn’t always work out this way. Sure, the Kingdom might be at hand, but we’re still facing rejection. We open ourselves up and people hurt us. We try to be there for others and they only end up resenting us for it.

In spite of all this, some of us continue to believe. We believe that Jesus wasn’t kidding when he broke down barriers and that he wasn’t kidding when he said the gates of hell would not overtake what he started. So we continue to try. We get shut down and we open up again.

And if enough of us keep opening ourselves up, maybe we’ll see the day when things like “remembering Jesus” mean remembering one another.

Allen Marshall O'Brien

Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.

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