There is no “other.” While each of us is unique and experiences the world from a unique and unrepeatable perspective, we are all intimately related. The whole universe, as philosopher Alfred North Whitehead asserts, conspires to create each moment of experience. And each moment of our lives shapes our future and the future of our planetary companions.
In the interdependence of life, God is the energy that holds all things together. God is present in all things as the source of energy and possibility, and all things are present in God, as the recipient of all experience, the all-knowing, all-evolving memory of the universe. St. Patrick’s Prayer captures the divine presence in all things:
Christ behind and before me,
Christ beneath and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around me and about me,
Christ on my left and my right.
I encounter God’s presence in all things, unifying and diversifying. God is inspiring me to respond creatively to my companions, and God is inspiring my companions to respond creatively to me.
Diversity is real and should be affirmed. Indeed, God is the ultimate source of religious, spiritual, cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, and species diversity. God blesses otherness as part of the intricate web of life, the one energy enlivening all things in their uniqueness. Diversity is not oppositional but contrasting and enriching. Life at its best involves a creative synthesis of many factors within your own unique center of experience.
Today, reflect on these affirmations as a way of experiencing your connectedness and unity in all things.
Diversity is a blessing to be revered.
My well-being and the well-being of the planet are one.
My uniqueness blesses the uniqueness of others.
Throughout the day, greet others as God’s beloved children, joined with you in the intricate web of divine creativity and love. Hindus greet one another with the word, “Namaste,” or the divine in me greets the divine in you. Christians meet one another with the words, “The Spirit in me greets the Spirit in you.” Be mindful throughout the day of God’s Spirit in all things, joining unity and uniqueness. Bless otherness as you recognize your common Spirit.
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books, including Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living; God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness, and the Healing Miracles of Jesus; and Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry. He has taught at Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is currently theologian in residence at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at email@example.com