Foundry United Methodist Church

Rev. Dean Snyder, Senior Minister

 

 

Meditation: “Intersections”

Sunday, November 1, 2009

 

 

Ephesians 4:1-16

 

Dean

Rev. Dean Snyder

 

There are two Greek words—one that means “to weave” and the other that means “to knit” and they appear together in the same passage of Scripture only once: Ephesians 4:16.

 

Ephesians 4:16 is one of the most difficult verses of the Greek Bible to translate into English. Ephesians 4 compares the body of Christ to the human body, and the gist of verse 16 is that members of the body of Christ are knit and woven together the way the human body is knit and woven together and that all the parts of the body need to move together and grow together in order for the body to function well.

 

The focus is on the ways that the parts of the body intersect and intertwine with each other in the same way that the threads of all woven and knitted things intersect and intertwine with each other.

 

I think it helps us understand what we are trying to say on All Saints Sunday.

 

There are people who have woven and knitted themselves into my life in such a way as to profoundly shape who I am. Some of them have died and they are no longer physically available to me. But they are still knit and woven into me. They are my particular pantheon of saints.

 

It occurred to me this week that DNA is a thread. Physically and biologically there are generation, after generation, after generation of people woven into each of our DNA who have helped to shape who we as individuals are physically.

 

Last year there was a news story about a small town in Germany where they discovered a cave with 3,000 year old skeletons in it. 3,000 years ago was the Bronze Age. They got DNA from the bones and they asked village residents to provide samples of their DNA and out of 270 people who participated they found two men whose DNA matched the skeletons. They were descendents of the people buried in the cave.[i]

 

For thousands of years our ancestors have physically and biologically been weaving and knitting themselves into our DNA.  

 

I believe that the spiritual and the physical mirror each other. For thousands of years there are saints who have been spiritually knitting and weaving themselves into us, and they have helped to shape who we are spiritually and ethically and existentially.

 

Some of them we know; many of them we don’t. They are as really and truly woven into our souls as our physical ancestors are woven into our DNA.

 

On All Saints Sunday we pause to remember them and to name the names of the ones we know about and are specifically thankful for. We will name the names of saints who have died this past year who have woven and knit themselves into us through this congregation. You will be invited to name the names of saints who have woven themselves into your life, whenever they lived or died. We will be thankful for saints we have never known or even heard of who have spiritually knit and woven themselves into us.

 

And we will think, I hope, about who we can spiritually knit and weave ourselves into. The important part of any weaving is the intersections. Ephesians 4:16 says the most important dynamic without our bodies is the places where things come together – the joints, the connections.

 

The most important part of your life and mine is where we touch and are touched by others … where we weave and knit our lives into the lives of others.

 

To remember the saints, as we do this morning, is always an invitation to live saintly lives. Saintly lives aren’t perfect lives. They aren’t even particularly religious lives. They are lives that weave and knit themselves into the lives of others.

 

Someday every one of us will physically die. I had a dream recently in which I was in a crevice inside the earth. I told it to a psychiatrist who told me the crevice inside the earth was a grave. The psychiatrist asked me how my congregation would react if I got up one Sunday and them that they were all going to die. I told him that we say it in church one way or another every Sunday.

 

What happens to us after we die will take care of itself. What will last of our days here on earth will be the ways we have woven and knit ourselves into others. After we are gone from here, may someone on All Saints Sunday think to mention our name.         

 

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[i] Tristana Moore, “Uncovering the ultimate family tree,” BBC News at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7570928.stm.