‘I am you and you are me.’ So says Kempton Bunton when he finds himself in court accused of stealing the painting of the Duke of Wellington. Kempton wanted to sell the painting to buy lots of TV licenses for war veterans and the retired, as he didn’t believe they should have to pay for them. He was fighting for others, being a voice for others. His phrase in court is something about community, realising we are part of a body. St Paul in the Bible, that epic letter writer (how he would have loved email eh?), describes a cartoon picture of people being different bits of the one body – an ear, an eye, a foot etc. And a body needs all kinds of bits to keep it alive and functioning. Ear wax, veins, sinews, tear ducts. We’re all different bits of that body, and we need each other. The heart can’t suddenly decide to jet off to Spain for a fortnight, the body would collapse. The armpit can’t tell the funny bone to take a hike. There’s a saying, ‘What’s the best thing in life? Other people? What’s the worst thing in life? Other people.’ We need each other and yet inhabiting the same space can be tricky. Christianity or spirituality can be seen as personal, individual pursuits, but the stories in the Bible are about people together, families, friends, followers, nations, communities. When AJ Jacobs attempted a ‘Year of Living Biblically’ he discovered it was not a journey best done flying solo. I’m a bit of a loner, happy in my own space, but I’m so grateful for those who fly alongside me too. As the song goes… ‘The knee-bone connected to the…’ feel free to join in.
I regularly post creative pieces which help folks connect with the Bible in a contemporary and down-to-earth way. Please feel free to make use of them if they inspire you. I also post daily short thoughts on Twitter and have produced a variety of books, most of which draw on the Bible.