Abide in me as I abide in you. (John 15:4)
Bishop Desmond Tutu popularized the word “ubuntu,” to describe the goal of human relationships. Ubuntu means “I am because you are” or “I am because we are.” Ubuntu is the virtue of interdependence in which our joys and sorrows are one. When you succeed, your success contributes to my wellbeing. My success brings wellbeing to your life. The apostle Paul calls this “the body of Christ,” the lively spiritual organism which, when healthy, allows us to express our gifts and bring out the gifts of others. (I Corinthians 12:12-31)
These days we hear, “we’re all in this together.” Of course, if this is true today, it must have been true three months ago and will be true three months from now. We matter to each other and can add beauty and joy to each other’s lives. Our sacrifices, and the sacrifices of others, contribute to the health of our communities. Obviously, this has ethical as well as personal implications.
On the personal level, ubuntu is obvious. When I am supporting others in my family circle or circle of friends, their lives flourish and are filled with greater joy. When others support me, I can achieve more than I thought possible.
On the larger level, if we want our congregations, communities, or nation to succeed, then we must recognize that everyone matters. Poverty and injustice harm the health of the nation. Homelessness – especially among those who do not choose to be houseless, like the working poor – nags at the soul of the nation. Inability to get a good education or health care can lead to greater crime as well as spread of the coronavirus.
We all matter and we can all share in each other’s wellbeing. Out of our gratitude, let us reach out to each other in love.
Loving God, thank you for your love that flows in and through me. Remind me that we are all in this together and that out of our abundance we can reach out to one another. Amen.