Connections are essential to life and who we are as people. At every level we find ourselves connected – to people, place, the earth and its creatures, culture, and the Divine that pervades all life. Founder of the Centre for Action and Contemplation, Richard Rohr, says that ‘The universe is relational at every level, and even between levels. Relationship is the core and foundational shape of reality, mirroring our Trinitarian God (eg Genesis 1:26-27)’. He makes the point that the universe is grounded in relationship – everything is relational. The very atoms that make up all matter are relational structures where neutrons, protons and electrons are held in relationship. The power of the atom lies not in its constituent parts, but in the relationship. That is why so much energy is released when atoms are split because the power lies within the relationship. Our bodies are built on relational systems or organs and tissues that work within each system and together to make our bodies function. The earth has eco-systems and all life is part of a web that connects us all. At a deeper level, we are all connected and everything belongs because we are held in the deepest, most profound relationship that is grounded in perfect love. We call this relationship, the Trinity, the Divine heart from which all things originate, belong and return. The pattern of all things is derived from Divine relational community and is imbued with life and being and grace.
In the passage for this week (Luke 17:1-10), the sense of relationship continues as we are encouraged to build and sustain community through confronting those who do wrong with their offence and then to forgive when they seek it. Forgiveness sought and given is essential. Jesus even suggests that if someone seeks forgiveness 7 times in a day for the same repeated offence we are to forgive (this assumes that the offence is not of an order that is criminal and violent and requires deeper response from the community). Relationship is paramount and to deny relationship is to cause ‘little ones’ to stumble and fall. We are invited into the place where we seek to nurture and grow relationship at every point and place relationship above ‘goodness’ and moral perfection or belief systems. This requires faith – the faith we already have. The level of faith that is a small as a mustard seed. In other words it is within our capacity if we have the will!
Rev Geoff Stevenson