Twelve Umbilical Cords

Lone Pine on Bailey Range

Posted by David—

Someone looked at me quite puzzled the other day. She is an elderly lady who I know from simple chats and conversations. She seems very sensible and kind. We were having a conversation at Sunday School and I was trying to explain how I am similar to the person who does or has done the most horrific acts known to man, simply because I am in the body of Man. We are all branches of the same tree. I should have said something like, “because we are connected historically, socially, and relationally, are we really any different?” I did go on to explain something about us all being connected. But as you might expect, the puzzled face intensified. My explanations and justifications didn’t seem to do much good. Her puzzled face did fade and I don’t think it was because she suddenly ‘got it’. She may have been thinking that I was fit for the loonie bin or the correctional facility in comparing myself to Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein. I suppose I could keep my mouth shut more often.

But seriously are any of us all that different? The only thing that separates me and you are probably less than 12 umbilical cords if you’re caucasian, maybe only Six Degrees of Separation, as was popularized by John Guare’s play.

I do think each of us are distinct persons, but not as different as most of us would like to imagine.

The people know the salt of the sea
and the strength of the winds
lashing the corners of the earth.
The people take the earth
as a tomb of rest and a cradle of hope.
Who else speaks for the Family of Man?
They are in tune and step
with constellations of universal law.
The people is a polychrome,
a spectrum and a prism
held in a moving monolith,
a console organ of changing themes,
a clavilux of color poems
wherein the sea offers fog
and the fog moves off in rain
and the labrador sunset shortens
to a nocturne of clear stars
serene over the shot spray
of northern lights.

Carl Sandburg, The People Yes

I can honestly say that I feel no different than the horrors of this earth. If there’s a man that you can point to and say, “He is a wicked man.” That is me. Or if you can say, “Can you believe that she did that?” I am her. We are all more alike than is imaginable.

So, that was Sunday. Today, I walked into the Dentist and was immediately told that upon leaving “I’d be fully Sanctified.” It was a quippy remark probably based on our past discussions. And the sanctification he spoke of didn’t have anything to do with my smile. I think he wanted me to really know the truth to what John Wesley spoke of when he spoke about our “new birth” and our “entire sanctification.” And there’s truth to it, even though we may be 12 umbilical cords away from Saddam Hussein, Christ has promised us that we, his disciples, will be cleansed completely. The Hitler in us will be washed away. I can trust and should fully trust that promise and feel entirely sanctified. It was a good thing more me to hear.

So, oddly enough, I did leave the dentist’s office feeling fully sanctified. I can proudly say that I’m no different than the great Joy of this earth. For yes, in the great horrors I will die forever, yet in the great Joy I will be raised with for eternity. The spiritual umbilical cord that I have with Jesus will never be severed.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

Romans 6:5


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