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Binding Together
Photo: Stacy Braswell
John Donne, the great 16th century poet, once wrote: "To be no part of anybody is to be nothing." He obviously recognized one of the fundamental elements of being human—the need to be in meaningful relationship with others, to feel a significant part of others. Spiritual giants of every millennia have all emphasized that one can only become fully human by paying attention to the relational dimension of life, by living within loving and supportive community.

The Latin etymology of our word "religion" suggests that the word is actually from "re-ligare"—to bind together, to reconnect (as ligaments bind/connect bones together). Genuine religion is suggesting that that reconnection, that binding together again, needs to happen between humans and God and between humans and each other. In other words, the whole point of religion is to help faciliate that vertical and horizontal reconnecting.

And yet the tragedy of human history is that so often religion has had quite the opposite effect—rather than binding people together, it has broken people apart, rather than making it easy for people to reconnect with God, it has made it harder. No wonder so many people in today's culture find organized religion distasteful and irrelevant. Religion has too often lost sight of its calling!

The Bible provides a metaphor for Church that is highly significant. "The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free ... Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it." (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, 27).

Connected Together

Just as in the human body where everything is connected together, so in God's family everyone is connected together. The point of church is to bring people together, to reconnect each other in meaningful ways so each person recognizes their special value and function in contributing to the whole. God is calling us to remember—to remind ourselves—that God's kind of life, real human life, is all about connecting, binding together—recognizing our need for each other, our connection with each other as children of God, equally valued and respected and precious.

We need each other to become more fully human. We need caring, supporting connections with each other. That's what church is suppose to be for. I hope you have found your special place in a spiritual community that reconnects you to your true self, to others, and to the God who loves you more than you can imagine.

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By Greg Nelson. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION ® 1996.

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