one another…

There’s a great phrase used in the New Testament – a phrase that speaks to the heart of our faith – to the heart of our identity. Here it is: One another. One another. Now that you hear it, it’ll probably strike you as familiar.

            Love one another.

            Wash one another’s feet.

            Greet one another with a holy kiss.

            Let us stop passing judgment on one another.

This little phrase speaks beautifully of the mutuality inherent in our life of faith. It demonstrates beautifully that within the Body of Christ each person must be intentionally engaged with the other – on a two way street. It’s not that only one person acts or speaks or teaches or whatever – rather as one is engaged with the other, that other is equally engaged with the one. Thus we read about the first Christians in the book of Acts, Chapter 4: “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul.” — And so the list goes on as we scan through the New Testament writings:

            Bear with one another.

            Be devoted to one another.

            Instruct one another.

            Build one another up.

All of which brings us to today’s passage in James, in which the Apostle says: “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” 

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that you may be healed…

In the town of Capernaum lives a man who suffers from what we would call paraplegia.

He is paralyzed from the waste down – unable to use his legs.

He is utterly dependent on those who live around him – dependent on them to provide food and drink, to put a roof over his head and clothes on his back.

As is often the case with individuals who make appearances I n the gospel narratives, we know little about this man. We don’t know the cause of his paralysis and we don’t know for how long he has suffered.

On the other hand, we know something not insignificant about this man – we know that he has friends. We know this not only because he is alive – which itself requires the presence of friends in that context. We also know he has friends because they actually appear right alongside him in the gospel narrative. This man does not appear alone in the pages of Mark’s gospel – but with his friends. Continue reading