June 21, 2015


What Does Unity Look Like?

“We’re celebrating! Woo-hoo!” Peyton squeals. His younger brother Cohen runs and runs. Both boys skip and fling straw into the air. Peyton plops down, stretches his arms open wide and catches the straw as it falls. Cohen dumps it on his brother’s head. They roll and “bury” each other, then rise up and shout, “Pop goes the weasel!” Their giggles echo through the neighborhood.

Today’s verse says, “Look how good and pleasant it is when brothers [and sisters] live together in unity.” (Psalms 133:1, ISV.) These two little boys, my grandsons, paint a picture today of what wholesome unity looks like. Children as young as they are—age two and three years old—haven’t learned to hide their inner selves and their joy. What you see is truly what you get.

Of course, these brothers don’t always get along!! But when they do, I wonder if being true to who they are from the inside out contributes to their celebration of being alive together.

Unfortunately, adults do learn to hide their inner selves in public. We say the right things to the right people to get what we need or want. We bury our dark thoughts rather than confess them to God and another person we trust. The outer husks of our beings grow, and we bring dry, divided selves to our communities. We disintegrate individually and together. When that happens, our bond as brothers and sisters becomes rooted in peace-faking rather than peace-making.

Ultimately, peace-faking leads to forgetting who we are and who others are. Mother Teresa says, “Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

How have I hidden myself from others today? How have I forgotten my brother or sister?

Open my heart, Father of all, to truly live with others in life-giving unity. Amen

Written by Deborah Jansen

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com

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