There is a very interesting game that became popular about a decade ago called, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” In Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, movie aficionados are challenged to name any actor and link him or her through their working connections to the actor Kevin Bacon.
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a parody of a similar game, “Six Degrees of Separation,” where any two people on earth are connected through six or fewer acquaintance links. Social media like, Facebook, Twitter and even the networking site LinkedIn, have given us new ways to be connected, likely diminishing that gap of six acquaintance links significantly.
When you think about it, our connectedness to one another is quite astonishing.
The epistle reading for today comes from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 4:17-32) which can be divided into two sections. In the first section Paul reminds the fledgling church of their old way of life and how that former life is not how Christ taught his followers to live (“That is not the way you learned Christ!” Paul screams in verse 20). In the second half of the reading (verses 25-32) Paul offers us a great number of admonishments on how we, as Christians, should order our lives.
In particular, verse 25 caught my imagination today: “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another.” Let us be bold and speak the truth to those whom we know, because we all belong to one another…we are all a part of one another…we all matter to one another….we are all connected to one another. Now, Paul is talking about the members of a body–the body of Christ–and that we are all part of the collective that makes up the body of Christ. But we can easily apply that in a far more local manner: to our church, or to our neighborhood, city, nation.
As we start this new year, and as we are prone to do, we can take stock of what we did, what we accomplished, where we failed, where we struggled and succeeded in our lives in the previous year while looking ahead to the blank slate that lies before us. What are the ways in which you helped to strengthen, enliven, give light to, encourage, lead, and love the body of Christ? As interconnected members, belonging to, and with, and for one another….what are the changes you will make in your life that will strengthen our body of Christ which will help to change and heal our world?
Pray about them. Name them. Live them. Rejoice.