Reflections on Faith and Community

Dear friends,

On this page, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. You can also find them on the church's YouTube Channel in the "Weekly Word" playlist. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.

Andrew S. Odom

01/27/2018 11:14 AM

Shared Experience

01/27/2018 11:14 AM
01/27/2018 11:14 AM
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6-7)
Some of you have been participating in the study and conversation many religious communities in Dallas have been doing together on the book, A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, by Thupten Jinpa, a former monk. It is a wonderful book. In it, Jinpa talks about empathy. “What is empathy?” he asks. “It’s our natural ability to understand other people’s feelings and share in their experience.” He goes on to talk about how a shared experience has two components: an “emotional response to someone’s feelings, and cognitive understanding of his or her situation.” When we share in someone else’s experience, whether it be by an emotion we share with them or a feeling we have for them without actually feeling what that person is feeling, we gain a sense of empathy. Something in us changes, and we end up feeling closer to that person.

There is no greater act of shared experience than the act of God emptying himself and becoming one of us. In that act, God gives us the gift of shared experience with Christ. Christ poured out his own life for us so that, in turn, we may experience Christ’s life. In other words, something in us changes, and we end up feeling closer to God. We gain empathy for one another because God has empathy for us. We can share in one another’s experience and grow in that sharing because God shares in our experience. This is the gift we are given. This is the gift we can give.