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We are all wonderfully connected

Diversity in Christianity1Rev Philip Young believes we should rediscover our connections with each other as we seek to celebrate the season of peace and goodwill to all men.

The World Wide Web allows us to connect with each other in amazing ways. We can talk to our grandchildren in Australia. We can know what is happening in the news instantly – updated constantly – 24/7.
And yet more than ever, in our modern world, we are feeling disconnected.
Something is badly wrong. The world is being torn apart by violence. Many in Israel and Palestine are far away from living in peace. Sunni and Shia Muslims are at war with each other in Iraq and surrounding countries. Many governments live in fear of terrorist attacks from fundamentalists. It seems there are fewer and fewer places where people can live in safety and peace.
The danger in all this is that we become disconnected from each other, and that we identify only with our own group. We fear others and see them as different from us. At worst they become our enemies and we want to eliminate them. Here are the seeds of war and violence.
I am convinced that the only way back from this hell on earth is to know, in our hearts, that we are all connected to each other. We need to find our common humanity and to know that we are all one family sharing one beautiful Earth. We are all brothers and sisters.
I believe that it is just this sort of unity and connection that Jesus came to teach us. In the bleak mid winter of the dark nights came one who is the Light of the World. I feel a little bit sorry for those living in the Southern hemisphere at this time of year as the story of Jesus’ coming fits very well with our season of winter. ‘The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it(John 1:5)
The wonderful news of the coming of Jesus is that Jesus is ‘God with us’, which of course is what the name ‘Emmanuel’ means. (Luke 1:23). No longer can we say that God and man are separate from each other.  The coming of Jesus means that forever God and man are one with each other.
And we too are made in the image and likeness of God. So we are both God and man. This makes each man and woman a divine being. We find our wholeness and our divinity most fully when we are in Christ and when we die with him and are raised with him. But the stamp of our divinity is there whether we believe or not. There is an original blessedness, which is shared by all created beings.
This means that we are all brothers and sisters by virtue of our shared humanity and it means that all people should be viewed as divine beings. If this is the case then we are all connected and hatred of a brother or sister becomes something inconceivable. As John writes in his first epistle, “Whoever says, ‘I am in the light’, while hating a brother or a sister, is still in darkness (1 John 1:9)
We are all connected. By living out our true connectedness to each other we bring wholeness and health to our broken world.
May we all find our way back to connectedness in the coming year? Brothers and sisters, let us love one another.

Philip Young June 2014

Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans.
Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. 
He is now a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters and is currently writing his first book called, ‘Vote for Love’. He is available to give talks, presentations or to preach, and has Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Norwich.

He can be contacted at philipyoung@btinternet.com

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