Last night I watched the Grammys. I loved the peasantry, the costumes, and of course the music. But the thing that caught me off guard was the collaboration. In a world that is constantly bombarded with messages of diversity and personal individuality, it was so incredibly refreshing to watch as old and young played together. It was powerful as vocalists took the stage with artists not from their genre. I watched as people paid tribute to artists of the past. I was encouraged that creatives, who were not musicians themselves, were invited to participate in honoring the musical artistry of the night and those who create it. Such a beautiful picture.
There are fewer and fewer places in the world where differences are laid aside to celebrate commonality. It is a passion of mine to celebrate that which unifies and allow the unity to build a foundation where differences can be respectfully discussed and lived out. I recently was in a room of women who came together to listen to the teachings of a young and brilliant theologian. The individual offered their thoughts and though not all agreed in the room, each person listened with the desire to understand. There was no “prove yourself” spirit. Nor was there a combative spirit in the group. I was encouraged by the respect for one another that each brought to the conversation.
A few weeks back I read an article by a man who told his story. He leads Campus Pride, an organization that supports the LGBT community on college campuses. The article chronicled his coming out as a friend of a man with whom he disagrees and whose company he has picketed and has staged boycotts. It is a beautiful read. Though the men did not agree, they found common ground as human beings.
There is much to learn from the Grammys about relationships, collaboration and unity. It is my hope that as men and women of faith we are willing to do the hard work of creating spaces where individuals are celebrated for being people who bare the image of their Almighty Creator. When we create spaces of respect and love, we invite individuals to relationship. It is in the image we bare that we are able to find commonality and live in unity. There will always be differences of opinion, lifestyle and belief, but it is through asking questions, listening to the hearts of and seeing the image of the Creator in one another that relationships are able to be formed.
Is there a person with whom you disagree? A person with whom you’ve believed you could have no relationship because the differences are too great? Take some time to pray for new eyes towards this person and do something this week to begin building a bridge of relationship.