By Jerry Maynard, a Campaign Nonviolence Action Organizer in Texas
It seems that we live in a world where everyone thinks we are divided. I agree that we are divided, but being divided is not necessarily a bad thing. Being divided, just like anything else, shows us our humanity. Division shows us our deep fear of connection.
Human beings are cowardly creatures. We do not like discomfort and we shy away from chaos. Yet, if we wish to have reconciliation we must first, “flip the script” meaning, change the mentality of the people involved. To be able to flip the script, you must be able to realize that in the end it’s all about, solidarity.
The choice to be in solidarity with all of creation, is to recognize your inherent connectedness with all people and the entire cosmos. You can not begin to break the cycle of violence without first realizing that liberation is for everyone and can only be created with everyone. Solidarity means that your story is my story and my struggle is your struggle. We have different ways of filtering our stories and dealing with our struggles, but it is still a shared reality; it is mutual. I have to be humble enough to step back and wait to be invited into a space where we can be vulnerable together then, in that space liberation begins.
When we live in solidarity, all borders and boundaries are broken. When we live in solidarity, the “us and them” paradigm is shattered and all there is left is love. Solidarity is a means of returning people to themselves and in the process you get returned to yourself. And who is it you are being returned to? You are being returned to the essence of who you are, beloved.
In the Gospel, Jesus was being baptized by his cousin John, and according to the Scriptures when John poured the water onto Jesus, the clouds opened up and a voice said, “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Now, this is significant because Scripture Scholars tell us that Jesus never did anything merely for the sake of doing it. Everything Jesus did, He did it so that we knew what WE had to do in our lives. Thus, on a certain level this is a command to go and be baptized into the Family of God, but also at the same time it is a declaration of who we are as people. We are the beloved sons and daughters of God! So, when we choose to live in solidarity, we are choosing to help each other mutually become the beloved.
So, the “kingdom of heaven”, as Scripture puts it, is to live in solidarity so that all may find rest in the grace of exquisite mutuality. The message of the Gospel is that we are all in this together. Unless we choose to recognize our inherent need for connection, our divisions will persist. But nothing goes unchecked and nothing is useless. Division is good because it creates a space for us to have this realization that we need each other. Sometimes, we have to be slapped in the face by life, before we wake up to the reality of what is right in front of us. Division at times is that “slap” from life.
So, as we deal with the increasing polarity of our times, let us begin to realize that this divide is an illusion and let us begin to walk towards the chaos. Let us begin to initiate a lifestyle of solidarity. Remind yourself daily of this simple mantra, “I am you and you are me, so let us live in unity”. Begin the process of disarming your heart by inviting others in who will return you to yourself and in the process those around you will be returned to that space where they realize that they are beloved, just like you.
Solidarity captures in one word what Ruskin called, “the duty to delight”. Let us learn to delight in one another. If right now we are separate, honor that separateness for what if is, then walk forth into the truth of liberation; that we are all connected and there is nothing to fear.