Last week was quite a week. National and international stories of tragedy were mixed with some local stories that hit very close to home. There was, there is, a lot of sorrow in our world.
I think that’s one of the reasons the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus speak so powerfully to me. One of the central stories of scripture is that of God as creator. God creates, delights in creation, sees creation as good – and yet also sees that humans so often make decisions that isolate us from both God and others.
God creates anyway. If God is, indeed, all knowing then it follows that creation itself is an act of forgiveness and an act of hope. Creation is creative, diverse, and multifaceted. We are not created to be the same, but different. We are each unique and unrepeatable, yet called to live in relationship. Martin Luther King said, “We must learn to live together as brothers [or sisters], or perish together as fools.”
Which is why I think the word “they” may be among the most dangerous in our vocabulary. It is about separation and falsely both ignore real differences among “us” while highlighting a simplistic similarity between “them.” It is hard to get around, but I find trying to avoid the pronoun and use descriptive names is a first step. It allows us to communicate while making clear the generalizations in play. As Christians, our primary theological understanding of God is that of the Trinity. One God revealed and present in three distinct, but not separate or hierarchical ways. Creator. Redeemer. Sustainer. Father, Son, Spirit. Each present in creation; each present eternally. Each the same; each one, and yet each unique. Like the notes of a chord, they are one. God is love – and love is a relationship. They… there’s that word. And yet in Jesus, God became flesh. God dwells with “us” – with all our finitude and limitation; in the midst of all our sorrows, that we might catch a glimpse of something more. That is love.