I sit on the light-rail train traveling through my beloved Portland at rush hour. Every seat is occupied and half as many more stand. I glance around the jostling compartment at each face, dozens in total. Not one smile. Almost zero eye contact… the few that do quickly refocus twenty feet beyond me as if to demonstrate that to them, I am not actually there.
Is this it? Is this the state of human integration in the modern world? Are we in fact all disconnected bipeds, summarily separated from another, the relational equal of a freight car stacked with bags of flour?
Many believe so. Many live as if this is so.
They are wrong.
Here is another picture of human integration…
Some months ago I was sitting at the end of a dinner table. Half a dozen friends sat around and I was asked if I would say grace.
Instead of folding my hands, I placed them heavily on the table and took a moment survey the faces of my friends. Then my gaze dropped to the sumptuous table before us…
… and these words came over me:
Thank you, God.
Thank you for farmers.
Thank you for ranchers.
Thank you for grocer clerks and supermarket administrators.
Thank you for vinedressers and wine makers.
Thank you migrant workers and assembly line labor.
Thank you for truck drivers and mechanics.
Thank you for boat workers and warehouse laborers.
Thank you for the thousands and thousands of people that make this meal possible.
My friends and I thank you have not left us alone.
. . . . .
What is reality and what is illusion?
Reality is that our interdependence, our interconnectedness is not lost. If only we have eyes to see, most every moment of everyday is a desperate and integrated dance of humanity. If it takes thousands to get a meal to a table, how many does it take to keep your house warm? How many does it take to get you to work on the Monday morning? How many does it take to make sure the children of your neighborhood are fed, the strangers clothed, the sick visited, the convicted restored?
The Divine Dance is a theological picture, but the divine dance is also your ever-present human reality.