Today I would like to invite you to reflect on “the world” around you. The Christian tradition often ascribes negative connotations to the terms “the world” or “worldly.” Many Christians, but also other spiritual Traditions tend to establish a “us vs. them” mentality when thinking about the inside group –such as the church- and the outside group –such as everyone else. The “us vs. them” mindset is a natural human tendency to define oneself as a member of a “tribe.” I observe this behavior often within the hospital context. Many staff members expressed their frustration with “the others- out there” who don’t wear masks or don’t get vaccinated, while we here in the hospital were doing our best caring for our community within the COVID pandemic. I also observed the tendency of care givers, including myself, of becoming frustrated with family members, who just didn’t seem to want to understand visitation policies or projected a hostile attitude toward the healthcare system.
As a person of faith I have to remind myself that the God who created “the world,” loved it so much as to become part of it, living in the midst of it- intermingling even with the outcasts of his day. Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Buddhist monk and famous teacher of Zen meditation wrote about the interconnectedness of all things and the understanding that we are linked to one another –like it or not. As you go about your day I want to invite you to try and identify the groups or areas of your life where you have separated yourself from others. Try to allow yourself to “fall into communion” with “the other.” Spiritual healing of communities can only occur when we engage in love with our neighbor. Moreover the healing of a community will also help you to heal spiritually. In the end we at Methodist are all about healing- aren’t we?
Please join me in this short prayer:
God of love and grace; Help me to see you in my neighbor. Help me to step out of the prison I put myself into, so I can live more fully, as to your purposes, within your creation. This world is a gift to us and you made it good. Help me to be an agent of healing and reconciliation on this wonderful earth. Amen