by Alice M. Price, a member of the conference Dialogue Resource Team. Alice is a professional mediator and group facilitator and is active with the Anabaptist Fellowship of Alamosa.
As I write this column, it is the fifth Sunday after Easter. Regardless of one’s theological or political perspectives or sources of daily news, we are all hearing the call for “unity” in one corridor or another of our lives. But as I’ve reflected and read during these extended weeks of Eastertide, I have been drawn rather to the frame of “solidarity.” Too often, unity becomes a drumbeat for uniformity, sameness, life without variance. Solidarity, in contrast, holds for me a deeper sense of wholeness, completeness, fullness and strength. It does not require unity so much as the realization and embrace of our common humanity in the midst of diversity and difference. Indeed, Jesus’ embodiment of full personhood, for the sake of all humanity and creation itself, is perhaps the most profound image of solidarity we can imagine. And why his words and offering, “this is my body…,” still resonate more than 2000 years later.
As Drew Hart so graphically states, “The spaces our bodies inhabit and the bodies our bodies come alongside of actually matter, as God has created both them and us and set up apart for holy use.” It is this embodiment that says much about who we are and how “solid” our faith is. The days leading up to and also following the crucifixion are full of many stunning displays of solidarity on the part of Jesus. We see this with his closest friends and allies, as well as with those on the margins of religious, political and economic power. Even his detractors and crucifiers were in this circle of fullness, for whom he petitioned, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
So what does this mean for us in this season? Who or what is it with which we need to be in solidarity, connecting and embodying God’s love? The answer will be different for each of us. For myself, it is finding ways to stand alongside those in my local community whom some dismiss as not worthy of bearing God’s image because they lack legal documentation. For some, it may be standing with other groups seeking justice at the margins of society. For others, it may be standing with those close at hand in our own families, congregations or workplaces who need our solid support for whatever daily struggles they may be facing. For some, it may be standing strong on behalf of a groaning creation. And for others still, there may be the call to cross a religious or political divide to listen and to share without rancor what is on others’ and your own heart.
As we move from Eastertide to Pentecost and beyond, let the Spirit nudge you – body, mind and spirit. Find or renew something or some ones to stand alongside, to be “solid with care.” And may it bring wholeness, completeness, fullness and strength to both you and them, to the furtherance of God’s shalom.