The premise of the film is that you are connected to everyone else in the world through no more than six connections. Effectively it says that humanity is just one big network, all linked by chains of acquaintance, in essence then, you are just six introductions away from any other person on the planet.
Believe it or not, by studying billions of electronic messages, scientists and statisticians recently confirmed this theory. They worked out that any two strangers are, on average, distanced by precisely 6.6 degrees of separation. In other words, putting fractions aside, you are linked by a string of seven or fewer acquaintances to Denzel Washington, Madonna, the Dalai Lama and the Queen of England.
I said all that to point out what I think followers of Jesus should already know. It is something believers and church goers should already be aware of, recognize, and celebrate and that is that we are all connected. There is a connection between all humanity and a specific connection between those who believe in God and put their faith in Jesus.
What better weekend to explore this concept of connection than this, World Communion Weekend? Christians all over the world join together in the unifying practice of communion this weekend. Also called the the Lord’s Table, the Eucharist, or the Last Supper, this meal is about connecting - with Jesus and remembering his life, love, and sacrifice for us; with others as we accept one another as we are when we come to this table; as a church sharing and supporting one another as the body of Christ / people of God. This table is both a personal and communal connection to Jesus and one another.
The apostle Paul spoke of connection multiple times throughout his writings and emphasized the unity found when we connect through Christ. For Paul, connection to one another through Jesus Christ, was central to the identity, function, and well being of the church. The key thought of Paul in this letter is the gathering together of all things in Jesus Christ. Unity in Christ is the foundation of Paul’s conviction and writing. In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul speaks to both existing and new believers, trying to help them understand how important it is that they find unity and work as one. It is the relationship to Jesus, his presence within us, and our commitment to him that unites us one to another, and in that alone, we should find unity, solidarity, and peace.
Christ was and is God’s instrument of reconciliation - God’s way of connecting with humanity. The church is now Christ’s instrument of reconciliation - Christ’s way of reconnecting with humanity. The way we are connected to each other and the way we connect with others is the core of who we are AND a big part of what’s in our wallets. It is the unlimited connections we are a part of and can be a part of when we give of ourselves to God and to the ministry of the church. It takes the connection and gifts of all of us to be and do church in our world; to walk through and navigate life together when we are all different, to be a light of Christ and a safe place for all God’s people in our community; and to bring about transformation.
When you answer the question, “what’s in your wallet?” remember to think about your connections - how you are connected, where you are connected, and then ask yourself “how can God use me and my connections to deepen my faith and further God’s kingdom?” Think about new ways to connect and how God might use new opportunities and relationships to deepen your faith and grow your understanding of living for God.
May we come to realize through the giving of our prayers, presence, and service that we are a part of God's unlimited connections. May we come to see that what we give can become the next connection for someone else, for ourselves, and for the church. May we pause and give thanks for the connecting power of this table.
May it be so.
Pastor Jenothy Irvine