BY MARTHA CHEVALIER
"All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah. Father of all mercy. God of all healing counsel. He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us."
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4 MSG)
A couple months ago, I stumbled across a reddit article that had me speechless. The story featured live action footage of a single brain cell. Maybe you have seen it? It seems, a single brain cell's sole purpose is to press forward, making connection with other brain cells. Pretty cool, connections on the cellular level. We are hard wired for connection. We are hard wired for belonging.
The early days of my college life was a very lonely time for me, a new city, away from the familiar. I remember someone calling out my name across the green, turning around to see the clerk from the bookstore. I had forgotten my checkbook on the counter after purchasing a stack of textbooks. I will never forget that moment. I thought, hearing my name, someone must know me, maybe I’m not as alone as I feel right now. Loneliness and isolation can leave us gasping in a chasm of grief and existential pain. There are many factors that have at times driven me into the wilderness of desolation and inconsolable longing. “C.S. Lewis names this longing with the German word sehnsucht. He calls it “the inconsolable longing in the heart for we know not what.”
Mary cried out in anguish at the graveside of Jesus, riddled with sorrow after the gruesome death of her Rabboni, which means Master” (John 20:16).
“Where have they taken my Lord?” The Son of God brought comfort to His close friend when he spoke her name, “Mary.” Hearing our name spoken from the lips of someone who loves us when we are hurting is a soothing balm. Here we glimpse Mary’s moment of transformation, consolation seeping in, simple connection and so profound.
Jesus makes a better way. Only in Him can we find our belonging, rounding out our faith-life in community, His tribe on earth. Authentic community links us with others who know us at our core, friendships that don’t want fancy sets of fig leaves to camouflage the truth of our broken places. Jesus invites us in, cleansing, offering the way of the Kingdom, to love and be loved, know, and be known, to see and be seen, to belong.