I looked at my jade plant and saw a branch had partly broken off and was hanging. As there was no connection, it would soon die.
Growing up, connection with people was difficult and painful, but I had a strong connection with my dog. (Dogs look at you.) Later as I worked in therapy to explore and confront my lonely and wounded self, I connected to the members of my therapy group and to the presence of my therapist.
In peacemaking, conflict resolution, and reconciliation work, one of the conditions is that the parties to stay connected one to one another. While anger is a strong connection, people need to stay connected when experiencing confusion, fear or anxiety as well.
Many people today feel unconnected because they rely on social media, which is impersonal. The pandemic adds to their isolation, their lack of connection. The loneliness increases mental health problems, and increases the risk of suicide.
God said, Wherever you go, I will be with you. That was God’s promise of connection and presence to Abraham, to Moses, to Isaiah, to the writers of the Psalms, to Jesus.
I know that God’s promise of connection is real, in space and time:
When I am in Indianapolis or Texas or China
When I am at home, at the symphony, or in the hospital.
When I am with friends, people who are not friends, or even friendly.
When I am joyful, angry, hurt, in pain, Or afraid
God was with me when I was therapist for people who were oppressed and in pain, as well as therapist for those who inflicted the pain. I could not have done the difficult work without the presence and support of God.
I know that connection to God is real. And I am grateful.
I can share the joy of that connection with others.
God is with me and members and pastors of this faith community.
God is with us as we connect with one another and serve the oppressed, the hungry, and the lonely. And I am grateful.
The most poignant of cries was Jesus’ cry from the cross was My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Jesus had temporarily lost that connection with God, that Presence.
But God was waiting for him, received him. We call it Easter.