Happy Interdependence Day!
During our General Synod evening worship on Monday, July 3, The Rev. Dr. David Vasquez-Levy, President of Pacific School of Religion, shared the message. He suggested that on the eve of 4th of July, our national holiday celebrating freedom and the birth of our country, that instead of thinking of this day as “Independence Day”, we instead think of this day as “Interdependence Day.”
As you can imagine, this received a rousing cheer from the delegates and visitors. Our independence gets us into trouble. Serious trouble.
When we start thinking we can do it all ourselves, we move into all kinds of troubled waters—waters of isolation and self-centeredness; waters of judgment and assumptions. See, if we believe we are independent and can do it all alone, we have no room in our work and in our life for others, no room for God.
Even more, when we start to believe this, we begin to see the world only through our own lens, through our own single narrative. If what is happening around us fits into that single narrative, we consider it good. If it doesn’t, we consider it bad or wrong or something that needs to be ended or removed. We begin to judge. I don’t think there is room in our lives for judging others at all (that is God’s job!) but when we judge based on a comparison to our own single narrative that we believe is the only way to see things, then we hurt others, we silence voices, we miss out on all the other beautiful narratives and ways of doing things from which we could learn a lot.
Interdependence is a reminder to us that we do need those other narratives and experiences in our lives. They make us better because they help us to see another way of doing things. When we listen to another person’s story or opinion we have an opportunity for dialogue and connection that may make our belief stronger…or it may make us realize that another way of looking at something is equal or even more valid than the only option we had previous considered.
So, Happy Interdependence Day! May all of your relationships and experiences this day be experiences rooted in love and connection with others—love and connection that can make all of us better servants of God.