Curiosity and Care in the Context of Relationships
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Good morning! What a beautiful week we are having here in Atlanta. Have you been able to walk outside and inhale the cool air of fall and appreciate the aroma of a world in transition--of nature becoming ready for the quiet of winter? We hope so. The beauty of living where we live is that we get to consider, as we experience the seasons, some of the rhythms that God intends for our lives.
When we pause and look up or look out, we recognize the interconnectedness of our inner lives and the outer world. Context. It’s valuable to ground us.
Another way that we gain this sense of perspective is through the context of relationships with other people, both our friends and the incidental “others” we encounter every day. Covid has been nothing if not isolating for many of us, and without the context of face to face encounters, it’s been easier to feel fear or to make assumptions about “those people” or “their agenda,” even as we’ve also continued to walk through a complicated political season.
As Christians, it is good to be reminded that our primary relationship with the “other” is our relationship with the God-as-human Jesus Christ, who reveals what whole, healthy, alive humanity looks like. In relationship with Jesus, we have the gift of sight--the gift of light.
John 12:44-46 says, “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as light, to prevent anyone who believes in me from staying in the dark anymore.”
Jesus goes on to say that his purpose is “not to judge the world but to save the world” and that our ultimate judgment will come through “the word itself that I have spoken.”
When it comes to our relationships, Jesus first offers us the warm light of companionship with a relentlessly faithful friend and guide in our dark loneliness and isolation. He saves us as we come to know and trust and follow him.
And, when it comes to loving others near and far, Jesus’ very words provide a true north--a way into interactions with those whose opinions, backgrounds, and stories we might not warmly embrace or understand. Jesus frequently led with questions, building bridges of trust between himself and others. “What do you want me to do for you?” “What are you looking for?” “Why are you looking for me?” are some of his more common ones.
As we allow the words of Jesus to lead us in our own relationships, we can adopt a posture of curiosity and care. “Tell me more…” can be a gesture of grace to season hard conversations. Choosing to hear the stories of “others” in our life allows us to have context for their perspectives, their passions, and their fears.
And so, this week, as we head into Thanksgiving (perhaps ones that will involve hard relationships or loneliness), we invite you to relax into the context of relationships, recognizing the gifts of perspective inherent in them. Relax, because you are loved fiercely and known intimately by Jesus, the best question asker. Relax, because you don’t have to have answers or arguments. You can trust that sometimes a well-timed question creates the sturdiest relational bridge.
Peace to you, friend. (Note - we have a few announcements in our “P.S.” section this week!)
The Kaleid Team
P.S. Announcing our December Advent Contemplative Circle! For four Wednesdays (12/2-12/23), either from 6:30 - 7:15 am or from 8:30 - 9:15 pm, we will meet via zoom for contemplative practices centered around Advent. Also, as a bonus, we will send a recorded teaching about Advent and its meaning ahead of time.
P.S. This TED talk by Orthodox Jewish faith-leader, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (who passed away earlier this month) is a beautiful paradigm for relational courage.
P.S. Lastly, perhaps in preparation for Thanksgiving and its relational realities, read the book of James over the next week asking, “What is Jesus asking my heart in this passage?” and “What posture or action can I extend toward others as I consider this passage?”