November 14, 2016 | JOHN RAY
Eugene Peterson defines sin as “a denial of dependence on God and interdependence among neighbors,
a refusal to be a people of God and a counter insistence that the individual ego be treated as something godlike.”
The only place I know of in our society where “dependent” is thought of in a good way is when we are claiming one on our taxes. We might like to claim ‘em, but being labeled “dependent” is another matter altogether. Likewise, while we might give a nod to all “interdependent,” we treat such interactions as optional and only really to be recognized where we can negotiate a good position for ourselves, where we are the ones in control.
This way of thinking is totally opposite of the Kingdom way, which is marked by our acceptance of being dependent on God at our deepest level of identity, as core to how we view ourselves. This isn’t just some kind of mental concept; it must be our lived reality. It’s only when we own and live into our interdependence with others that we come to understand it and demonstrate it to the world. It combats our tendency to act as our own gods, little and big. It shows itself in service, humility, brokenness and sharing.
There’s also tremendous hope that comes from letting go of the posturing and pretense of denying our dependence and refusing our interdependence. Hope, and freedom to own our own brokenness and hangups; freedom to enter into others’ pain and mess without fear of catching whatever ails them. These connections feel scary and tenuous at first, but they soon overwhelm and excite us, lighting up our hope, freedom and life. This positioning is restorative: the mode of the Kingdom and demonstration of the message.
Let’s spend this week contemplating our dependence and interdependence. To facilitate this, watch the following clip
and read the attached chapter from Posers, Fakers and Wannabes along with chapter one of The Attentive Life.
> Activity: Where are your closest ties of interdependence outside of your family? Who first comes to mind? Is it with your kids’ teachers? Your primary health care providers? The police who patrol your streets? Good start, but think a little bit more. What about the people pouring your coffee, picking up your garbage, delivering your mail? Do you know their names? Any of them? Take time this week to learn the name and a little bit of the story of at least one person with whom you have an ongoing, interdependent relationship. Ask the Spirit to reveal what your life would be without someone doing whatever it is they do for you. Draw your kids into this, as well. Ask the same questions of them. Ask them to help identify and relate to others with this in mind. Come Sunday ready to share what happened.
> Prayer for the week: O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, I may purify myself as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and glory, I may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
> Rhythm: Keep up with the breathing and the Lord’s Prayer. Include the prayer for the week as part of your devotions and add the person's name you learn from our practice to your prayers.