Romans 12:4-5 – For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
When I was growing up, we always had pets. It was great, for me anyway, not sure how the pets felt about me. The cats and dogs got put in doll strollers and were made to sit like humans while I navigated the jarring steps of a split-level home! At times I even precariously set their food dishes on the rim of the stroller. I seriously wonder why they put up with it. I loved them all very much, but as I got older, my mantra was I would NEVER have dogs, NEVER because I had stepped in one too many wet spots on the carpet. I truly detested dog breath and how their claws dug into my flesh when they jumped up on me. I thought dogs destroyed homes and didn’t think about that fact that maybe they were not trained well. Because my mom stayed home with us, that chore fell on her, along with all the other expectations of “housewives” of that generation. My mom and I have had this conversation, so I am not a rude daughter that says these things on a public platform. She has two dogs now that she has trained wonderfully! And, it is only now looking back that I can see the weight of the expectations placed on my mom and how unrealistic they were.
I currently have three dogs, and my daughter and her fur baby are also home, so we have four! I love them all so very much, they love unconditionally and are always excited to see me whether it has been two minutes or hours since they saw me. And those claws that dig into my flesh? Well, it still happens as they jump onto me and climb up my body when I get home to get as close as they possibly can. But, I look forward to coming home and the chaos that follows.
As I reflect on this, I think about how our experiences often put blinders on us and create tunnel vision, like my experience with dogs growing up. They can restrict our personal growth and even our work or growth of the organizations we are involved with, and we can miss out on so much. I think that in a church these “blinders” we put on can stop us from spreading the gospel to others because we don’t want things to change. There is comfort and security in what we know and doing things the way we have always done them. But, there is also the danger of wearing “blinders,” that tradition is old and outdated and has nothing to contribute to our current culture. Some hold these things very close to their heart. I think the question we need to ask ourselves is what does Jesus want for us, all of creation? What gets in the way of that and what blinders do we have on? Is one way right and the other wrong? Of course not! We are all part of the body of Christ, and sometimes I think we require Physical Therapy to get the parts of the body working together again and take off the “blinders” so that we can experience the joy, love, and peace even when the claws of a chaotic world dig in.
My prayer for all of us: Gracious and glorious God, help us, we so often forget we are all a part of one body that works together for the common good. Help us to remove our blinders and see how we can work together, and love our neighbors with different perspectives and experiences. We know that you work through ALL things, help us to remember that when we encounter others with different backgrounds and perspectives from our own, help us work together to continue your mission in this world. In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.