Reading: Jeremiah 29:7
In our lives connections are important. We live within a web of connections or relationships. We have connections first to our families. Here we gain our sense of belonging and here we develop who we are – all within this safe web of family. Next we form connections with our friends and significant adults in our lives. Soon we come to understand that how we live, act, and treat others matters. How we are treated matters. We learn how impactful our lives can be on others and vice versa. Both for the good and the bad, we know that our connections to others is vital.
Jeremiah advises Israel to seek prosperity and peace for the city of Babylon. He goes on to advise them to pray for the city too. The welfare of the exiles is bound up in the welfare of the city. One does not have to look too far in America to find examples of this concept. When there was unrest and protest and violence in a city, the impact was felt by all inhabitants of that city.
In our lives we have many layers of connections and relationships. The closer in, the more they impact us. For example, a parent losing a job impacts us more than a third cousin losing a job. We still feel for that cousin, but don’t necessarily deal with the affects. This distance can lead us to not be as connected to those we do not know and to those who we see as the stranger.
Our reality is that we are connected to all in our community. Our faith calls us to be aware of all in our community. The idea that our community as a whole is less when even one member suffers is an extension of God’s love for all of us. It is when we choose to address basic needs and to correct injustices that our whole community prospers and flourishes. When life is better for one, it is better for all. This sense of equality and well-being for all is deeply rooted in our faith. For whom in our community could we make life better?