July 12, 2021

Boundaries

Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred.”

Genesis 13:8
Robert Frost's poem Mending Wall makes two much beloved but seemingly contradictory statements: Something there is that doesn't love a wall, at the very beginning, and Good fences make good neighbors, in the middle and at the very end. Walls separate people, of course, creating boundaries between the property of this person and that person. And sometimes boundaries are needed—something pastor's are taught rather intensively these day. But walls—especially the building of them—also bring people together. Take Frost's wall between two New England farms, for example. The building of the wall provided a place where stones gathered from fields could be put to good purpose; and the mending of the wall brought people together as the seasons changed that they might renew their fellowship and catch up on the news.

I think that Frost's poem might well represent the biblical story of Abram and Lot. They set up a boundary that both would recognize so that they could remain good neighbors. But this does not necessarily describe the relationship between two children of God. It is neither a wall nor a memorial that marks our identity and draws us together, but the cross. Christ may come between me and another Christian, but Christ does not keep us apart, but makes us one in Spirit. I relate to my fellow Christian by means of Jesus Christ.

Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
 Romans 12:10
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Help us to love each other as we love our own selves, O God. In brother's welfare may I find my own welfare, and in my sister's good may I see my own good.
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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