As Christians, the oneness we seek is the oneness of living in Christ‑‑being an incarnational presence of God. Paul asks that we live in Christ, be rooted and built up in Christ, abounding in thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a prayer without boundaries, for prayers of thanksgiving do not seek to control or manipulate, only celebrate. Paul cautions us to allow ourselves not to be taken captive through "philosophy or empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe..." In other words, whatever binds and controls and limits - keeps us from being fully embodied in Christ. The mystery is that being embodied in Christ is a boundary‑less experience. Our point of entry into oneness with Christ is our baptism, which is a time of dying to the old and the beginning of living into the new. To achieve this, like Jesus, we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This, as our Gospel passage for today points out, can be the thrust of our persistence in prayer.Because the human will is so strong and there are so many pitfalls, we can seek each other's help, and coming together for worship and hearing again the core of our life and faith goals, helps us to get at that. As each of us grows stronger in our relationship with God, the whole community grows stronger in its relationship with God; and the realm of God, which is in our midst, becomes ever more known to us and to others who walk through this door, and to others we encounter through the week. How can we grow stronger as a community of faith? (From Pastor Randy's Sermon 7/27-28)
From Pamela: I remember when the issue of "boundaries" was the current most necessary topic for workshops and inservices. Issues regarding time, space, personal intimacy, public interactions all factored into the discussion of boundary violation.
I understand the importance of these considerations, and I also appreciate the freedom unleashed when we are securely rooted and built up in Christ. When we abound in thanksgiving we are in a mode of gratitude (and appreciation). We see others as gifts and blessings, and we are compelled to be a gift and a blessing to the other in all we do and say. No manipulation, no controlling, no violation, no judgement.
So here are my questions: Whenever we are with another -- where do we see Christ in the interaction? How did the encounter bringing us closer to one another and closer to Christ?