Reading time: two minutes.
There’s nothing simple about human relationships. My shelves, and likely yours, are filled with books examining the wonders as well as the challenges of life together. This election season has been an interesting examine of life together as a county, and I’m sure it will only increase in drama as weeks go by.
But I’d still like to try to simplify how we in our families, in our churches and in our church body might learn to strive together as we walk through life together. Try these four simple words on for size: “Tied at the waist.” It’s not a biblical analogy, but it works for me. Let’s explore!
I’ve done lots of hiking in the hills, but never actually climbed a mountain. The Boy Scouts of Troop 63 made it up over 7,000 feet in the Cascades a few times, but I was never up to the summit.I’ve always been fascinated, however, by mountain climbers. I worked in the summer for a member of the Mazamas, a mountain climbing club. I loved the stories of adventure together. Those stories led me to read a bunch of mountain climbing adventure stories like “Up in the Air.” Climbers are one hundred percent, absolutely, totally dependent upon one another.
It’s easy down on flat land to think we’re okay all by ourselves, but it’s not true. We’re climbing a step and treacherous mountain in this life of faith. There are dangers and treachery all along the way.
At our retreats, I ask, “Why do mountain climbers tie themselves together at the waist?” Usually someone response, “If someone falls, the others will rescue them and bring them back to their feet.” I only disagree with the word “if.” It’s more like “When.”
Chapter four of Ephesians concludes, “Be kind to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Tied at the waist can be awkward and uncomfortable. In our families, in our synod, in our congregations, we stumble, slip and often fall. Life together as God’s people is not simple and not easy.
But by the grace of God, we are tied together, bound by the undeserved kindness we’ve all received in the washing of Baptism and in the renewing, forgiving meal we share. In the mystery of God’s kingdom, frail, imperfect creatures like you and me are bound together to bless and support and encourage one another, and to strive together in a common witness to God’s forgiving grace.
I used to watch the climbers on Mt. Hood through a telescope. The world is watching us, a rag-tag collection of slipping, stumbling hikers, journeying through life together. When we remember that we’re in this together, as families, as partners in ministry, as a church and as The Church, we give a witness to the love of Christ.
Blessings on the climb.
Thanks for reading.
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