Inspired by the name of the new church in Amersfoort, and also because we’ve just celebrated the feast of All Saints, I’ve been thinking of the communion of all saints, as we say in the Creed: I believe in the holy catholic Church: the communion of saints.
It is a wonderful thought that God gave us all a place in a community that is held together by our shared love for Christ and each other. I have been thinking of how we can act this out in real life. Speaking for myself, I know that I keep a distance from lots of people that I just don’t understand. It hurts, it should be different, but how?
One key thing is perhaps that we should not focus so much on giving (help, advice, interesting stories), but much more on receiving. Receiving is the way to connect, I think. When we open our hearts to receive from our fellow Christians what God has given them, then we will really be connected and the Holy Spirit can really flow through us, like blood flows through the body.
Receiving means that we make a place in our heart for the other person. Sometimes we may be afraid of persons who are very different, but if we could step over that fear and allow people to be different, then we can become genuinely interested in what moves other people, and learn from them. This becomes much easier when we realize that we are not self sufficient, and that the other person has something that we need. If we see no such thing, that is a clear sign that we are blind, because God created each one of us with unique gifts, meant to be shared.
Receiving also means that we ask for help when we need it. Lots of people really enjoy helping, if only they knew what to do. Also over the past year I have noticed that whenever I ask a fellow Christian to pray for me, God hears their prayers much more than when I only pray for myself. I really think God wants us to realize that we are not capable of solving our own problems, but together we are strong.
Jesus is a great example of someone who is very good at receiving! He has a place in His heart for all of us. And also of course it is very necessary that we are willing to receive what He wants to give us. I will finish with this beautiful poem about how Jesus receives us, and serves and loves us.
by George Herbert
Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack’d any thing.
“A guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here:”
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I the unkind, the ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”
“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.