Happy twelfth day of Christmas, Y’all!
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Yahweh gives to us: Belonging.
Belonging, Community, Tribe, My People, Quaranteam. We use a lot of different words to describe that experience of being with others who authentically accept us and truly want the best for us and for us to be our best.
I’m going to try and not go all theological on us here but indulge me as I do a little nerding out: We are created by a Trinitarian God. It is a divine mystery just how One God can be inseparably Three Persons and much ink and blood have been spilled over just how this can be. I’m willing to accept it as a mystery that causes me angst one Sunday each year when I have to preach on it1.
What I can say confidently in my understanding is that God is the ultimate example for us to be in community, to belong. If we are created by The Trinitarian God, created from the abundant love of God, in the very image of this loving God, it seems logical to follow that one of our basic human needs is community, to belong to a group in which we feel known and accepted and loved. We are created to belong.
It seems that a lot of energy these days is spent defining who belongs and who doesn’t. We live in an ‘us vs. them’ society. We’ve taken belonging and made it a way to exclude others so we can feel better about ourselves. We label everyone, by ideals, political leanings, country of origin, color of skin, belief system, etc. Labels allow us to ignore the humanness of the “other” group. If I stick a label on you, I can define who you are so that it fits with my internal biases and I can stay deeply rooted in my comfort zone.
God’s intention with belonging is always to include. Everyone. Yep, even that person, even those people.
Each and every human being belongs with God as God’s beloved child. You, me, them, those. It is in the realization of this wisdom that we live most fully into our own humanness and the image of God from which we are each created.
Do we make room for those who are not like us?
We celebrate the arrival of the wise men tomorrow with the Feast of the Epiphany. Mary and Joseph made room for these unexpected strangers from a foreign land with odd nursery gifts and a belief system different from their own because somehow they knew that these people were a part of God’s plan.
So, on this twelfth day of Christmas, I invite you to ponder how would this world, how would your community, how would your family, how would you be changed by learning to see everyone as belonging to God’s plan? And if you have an epiphany, I’d love to hear your story.
AND, I invite you to join Padre Ricardo Lopez and me for weekly conversations during this season of Epiphany on the theme of HOPE. You can join us on Wednesday evenings, January 6, 13, 20, 27, February 3, & 10 at 5:30pm on the Odessa Episcopal Community Facebook page.
1Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost each year. In 2021 it will be May 30.