Brother to Brother…..one glorious hope!
Discussion Thought of the Day:
3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. Ephesians 4:3-6 (NLT)
Where man is no longer believed to be under God’s protection, to have God’s breath in him, then people begin to assess him from a utilitarian point of view. Then there appears the barbarity that tramples on human dignity. (1)
Twenty-one years ago, an album containing the music of two masters was put together, one singing the lead of the other’s composition, both playing the instruments and blending their voices together. They went on tour together, and while I would love to see many people in concert, to see Michael Card and John Michael Talbot together, would be one of my dreams.
The album was called Brother to Brother, and it was playing in the background when I came across the words of Pope Ratzinger in my devotional reading this morning. The lead song, One Faith, comes from another favorite album, JMT’s The Regathering, which finds its inspiration in the words above from Ephesians 4. It pictures the regathering of all the saints, into the perfect communion that is Christ Jesus. As I look out on a broken world and the one holy, catholic (small c means all of us) apostolic and sadly fractured church, that day seems so precious, so wonderful and so far away.
It is the prayer and desire of Jesus fulfilled, that we truly be one, even as the Father and He are one.
And we see the glimpse of it in Pope Benedict’s (Cardinal Ratzinger when he wrote them) above in blue. When we realize that every man is under God’s protection, every man has God’s breath in them, we can no longer view them as anything utilitarian. We cannot hang generalizations, we cannot define them by affiliation or hang demographic labels on them. Even the labels adversary and enemy fade away, along with fears and anxieties, as we see Christ in them, and therefore find someone who is loved, even as we are loved. Someone Jesus is calling to, even as he calls to us.
Pope Benedict went on to say, “We must always look upon other men as persons with whom we shall one day share God’s joy. We must see them as persons with whom we are called to be members of the body of Christ, with whom we shall one day sit at the table of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, at the table of Jesus Christ, as persons called to be our brothers or sisters, and to be, with us, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, children of God.”
This isn’t easy. It means we must trust and depend on God more than our fears, our anxieties, our resentments. it requires seeing the individual as more than important than those things. The only way to do that is to see the heart of God, the Lord who gave His body to be broken, and His blood to be shed for all on the cross, and then unify all He calls in a meal where He shares His body and blood again.
Including those that don’t understand yet, for we are called to love them, and invite them to this feast…..We won’t conquer our fears, we won’t willingly become martyrs if necessary if we don’t see them loved by God, even as He loves us.
Lord have mercy on us sinners, and help us to see that You died for each and every individual. AMEN!
(1) Ratzinger, Joseph. Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. Ed. Irene Grassl. Trans. Mary Frances McCarthy and Lothar Krauth. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992. Print.