God’s Will is Found in Mutual Interdependence

by Mark Votava

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I have spent the last twenty years of my life trying to understand my spirituality.  Having moved into a neighborhood ten years ago where I share life with others in community and spending several years studying the most widely read spiritual writer of the twentieth century, Thomas Merton; I am starting to understand that life is to be lived in mutual interdependence.

I have often said to myself, “What kind of a life do I want to lead that can leave a legacy for the church in the twenty-second century after I die.  What will the church look like in the next fifty years?  How can I be the change I want to see in my own life?”  I do not want to just give up on my spirituality just because sometimes our expressions do not represent Jesus very well.

  • Recovering a relational connection with one another

Through a lifetime of spiritual searching, Catholic mystic Thomas Merton came to the conclusion that, “We all need one another, we all complete one another.  God’s will is found in this mutual interdependence.”  What a profound statement!  Christians today need to recover this basic relational connection with one another in daily life.

  • Manifesting goodness and beauty in our life together

This is necessary if we are to find God’s will, and manifest any sort of goodness and beauty in life together.  As we practice being and becoming a local body that fits together in everyday life, that place will form the context for guiding and releasing a Culture of Imagination.  It will begin to subvert the individualistic techniques we try to hide behind.

  • The Scriptures were written to a local body in everyday life

You can see how this works when you read the Scriptures as though they were addressing a tangible local body instead of an individual.  The  Scriptures were not written primarily to an individual, but to a collective of people who were learning to embody the gospel in everyday life.  The apostle Paul wrote to the local church in Corinth to remind  them:

  • An integrated life

“By means of his one Spirit, we all said goodbye to our partial and piecemeal lives.  We each used to independently call all our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. … The old labels we once used to identify ourselves – labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free – are no longer useful.  We need something larger, more comprehensive.” (1 Corinthians 12:13,14 The Message)

  • It is a We thing, not an I thing

It was always a We–thing, not an I-thing.  The I is important to the We, but cannot stand alone.  Often we turn our spirituality into an I-thing where it is all about “me and God.”  This epidemic of isolation and loneliness is a disease that needs to be dealt with.

How do we find interdependence with one another in everyday life together?