August 10, 2022

LifeDate Fall 2022

by Pastor Michael Salemink

Self never suffices to define identity. “Lonely” rhymes with “nobody” for a reason. Every “I” implies—implores!—a “you.” And wherever any “I” intersects its “you,” we have an “us.” This distinguishes humankind from other substances and beings.

“I” come from love, from relationship, family, and community. Both Bible and biology bear witness to this truth. “I” embody creature and child. Some “You”—an entire “Us,” in fact—made me who I am and makes me so still. My worth consists in the “You” who constitutes my “I.”

The impulse of life moves forward, drives outward. We come from somebody besides “me.” We exist also for someone else. You are sacred only if I am. I have sanctity only inasmuch as you do. And we each derive and receive it from the “Us” who gives Himself as “You” to generate our “I.”

So, my purpose consists in emulating and extending the same dynamic. Contrary to popular opinion, my self is not for expressing. Identity doesn’t lie in reserving my territory and asserting my rights. The real expression of self is sharing with and serving another.

Ending another’s life, or even only overlooking it, cannot improve but only impoverish my own. The less of “you,” the less of “me.” But then every neighbor, every member of the same race and species, enhances my life and identity as well—whatever the ages, abilities, conditions, and costs.

In the very image of God, every “I” brings an “us” with it.

The better we all are, the better “I” am also!