For just as each of us
has one body with many members,
and these members do not all have
the same function, so in Christ we,
though many, form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:4-5 (NIV)
Are we our brother’s keeper? Absolutely. A story I’m working on for Southern Living has me thinking about that a lot—the idea that we have a responsibility to help each other, to want fairness and justice for each other. That means ALL “each others,” not just the ones who look like us and sound like us and worship like us.
Attorney Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy is being made into a movie, and there’s a passage in that book I hope the filmmakers include. Stevenson has been allowed a “listening visit” with some Montgomery matriarchs as they entertain Civil Rights legend Rosa Parks. The ladies give him permission to tell Mrs. Parks what he hopes to accomplish through his Equal Justice Initiative, and after he rattles off a long list, she looks at him and says something like, “You’re gonna be tired, tired, tired.”
It is indeed tiring and trying and often painful to do what we feel called to do, especially when we’re standing up for, or reaching out to, people who are very different from us. I’ve been guilty of shying away from it, giving myself a pass. But in Romans, Paul writes that “in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” We’re connected by the grace and forgiveness we’ve received, the grace and forgiveness we’re supposed to share with each other.
When I talk to new writers about researching a travel story, I sometimes say, “If you do it right, you’ll be really tired when you get home.” The same is true if we really believe what Paul said and act on the idea that “each member belongs to all the others.” If we do our share of that good work, we’ll be really tired when we get Home—tired but blessed.
[Image by Jack Moreh at Freerangestock.com]