Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-3
Journal: Does let us define your typical mode of operation, or let me? What are concrete ways you can move toward an us mindset? Have a conversation with your nearest and dearest friends about what this could look like.
Reflection: “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Let us. Did you get that? It’s not let me, or let you, or let him, or let her, but let us. Such a small, subtle change, but an incredibly powerful one. I mean, with one tiny little phrase there comes a complete change in perspective. With two little words we are able to make a major paradigm shift. A shift from “I am all on my own” to “We are in this together.” Let us takes us from isolation to community, from loneliness to togetherness, and from scarcity to abundance. Maybe that’s why the author of Hebrews uses the phrase so often, he realizes that the power of us is way stronger than the power of just you or just me.
“Let us run together, with perseverance, the race marked out for us,” is a whole lot different than “Let me run by myself, with as much perseverance as I can muster on my own, the race marked out for me.” There is strength in numbers. That’s probably why Ecclesiastes reminds us that “Two are better than one because if one falls there is someone there to help him up. But pity the man who falls alone.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) There is just something about the throwing off of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles that was always meant to be done in the context of community. I mean, we can continue try on our own if we want to, but we will always end up right back in the same old place. It’s like trying to pull yourself up from the bottom of a hundred-foot well.
There is just something beautiful and life-giving about living life in community. There is something good and right about doing whatever we do with the great cloud of witnesses, not to mention our closest friends and fellow pilgrims. It is easier to actually run the race with perseverance when you have your nearest and dearest running right beside you; at times your faith will sustain them and at times their faith will sustain you. Four (or more) eyes fixed on Jesus are far more attentive and accurate than two.
So let us begin to ask ourselves what running the race together—as opposed to alone—is supposed to look like. Let us dream a little and talk a little and make some commitments to each other. And then let us start to actually do it. At every given opportunity, let us choose communion over isolation. I think you will find that you are able to journey together to places in life and faith where you could never journey alone.
Closing Prayer: Give us the strength and the courage, O God, to live in community the way you made us to live in community. Let us be a living example of the life and love of the Trinity. Amen.