Becoming Fully Human

Yesterday was a restful and joyous Sabbath: restful with the fellowship of our monthly community potluck and joyous with…a Steelers win. Indeed, many folks I know and love were rejoicing.

In honor of all that hubbub, here’s a day-after-Sabbath meditation to start us off on good footing this week and to remind us how much we need each other. Desmond Tutu, in the opening to An African Prayer Book, writes,

“…we are made to live in a delicate network of interdependence with one another, with God, and with the rest of God’s creation. We say in our African idiom, ‘A person is a person through other persons.’ A solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. A totally self-sufficient human being is ultimately subhuman. We are made for complementarity. I have gifts that you do not; and you have gifts that I do not. Voila! So we need each other to become fully human.” (xiv)

What a great idiom. A person is a person through other persons. We become more fully ourselves and the people God created us to be when we realize that we do not stand by ourselves, that we can’t just go it alone.

But what’s even more radical about this, if we’re willing to go there, is that it doesn’t say we become more fully human when we surround ourselves with just the people who are like us, just the people we like, just those whose gifts we’re aware of needing. This isn’t a call for hardcore networking and successful church building.

No, I think this is a wider challenge. We need each other–even the people who drive us crazy, even those who come across our paths we don’t know, even the people we pretend not to see–to be human.

I really like the idea that we were “made to live” in this “delicate network of interdependence.” Made to live. Created to be so.


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One comment on “Becoming Fully Human

  1. Elizabeth's Dad says:

    What a great reminder! And “even the people we pretend not to see?” Yup, guilty, I am.

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