Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I Can do Nothing on My Own
John 5:30a "I can do nothing on my own," says Jesus. He goes on to talk about how his power is through connection to God, his capacities are communal rather than singular. His humanity was completely reliant on God's capacity and the faith and cooperation of the community. I have been thinking a great deal about interdependence and identity as part of a tribe, family and community. This awareness of my interdependence has only been heighten by the events of the past week and my mother's need for my presence and care. She is not incapacitated, she is not without personal resources or intelligence for decision making. But she is still somewhat dependent on others right now, and struggling with what that means for her present and future.
As Americans, we want to believe that we are all independent individuals. The highest achievements and honors in our country often are awarded to those who have "done it on their own." But none of us is really able to do anything on our own. We are completely dependent on our genetics, our capacities, our location, our resources and our communities. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are very dependent on all that is around us and very dependent on God. How lovely then is this statement by Jesus. In the fullness of humanity and divinity, he acknowledged his need for God and his need for others. He speak of his identity being formed and sustained in the inter-relatedness of life - past, present and future. He gives us the power to acknowledge our own neediness, and gives voice to the truth of how we can go forward - relying on God and others.
May we celebrate our dependence today, our reliance on God and those who love and support us in this life. None of us is where we are because of what we have done alone. We are blessed by throngs of witnesses, silent and vocal partners, hidden and revealed caregivers, intimates and strangers. We are related to and responsible for those we love and for those we can't stand, whether it is in our family or our denomination - and we are also dependent on them. May we have the courage today to accept our need of God, our need of one another, and our reliance on Christ to lead the way. May we rejoice this day in our neediness, our vulnerability, because in this, we know we are children of God.