Boundaries are comfortable. Fences make good neighbors, or so the saying goes. Barriers create safety, sometimes for those within and at other times for those without. Whatever word, clich?, or metaphor we choose to use, it is clear that we often like to have safe space between anyone else and ourselves. Even in a city where boundaries are at a premium, we hold our personal boundaries at a safe distance.
It is easy to conclude that boundaries are ok. They wrap many in a feeling of confidence. They soothe others into a comfortable state of mind. There are even those that define their purpose in life by the boundary they defend. After all, I would think that a community defined by the principles we hold most precious is worth defending. It should be true that our likes and dislikes should be part of normal life, as long as we do not interfere in the lives of others. We should nurture and preserve great institutions.
Many consider thoughts on boundaries admirable, even mature and appropriate. The stories past and present lay out an overriding theme in God’s voice. It seems clear that God’s thoughts are different. God tell you and me to “look: these coming from far countries, and those, out of the north, these streaming in from the west, and those from all the way down the Nile!” (Isaiah 49.12) The echo suggests that these are our brothers and sisters. These are members of the extended family. These are individuals without our community. We are all one under God. God in voice and action defines the word cosmopolitan. We all stand equal, priceless, before God.
The implications of living in a truly cosmopolitan world go well beyond my imagination’s hard boundaries. I may not be there at this moment, but I can reach out in friendship to everyone I interact with. I may be busy, yet I can always have time for others. Taking action, extending one’s self, or simply being accessible may not be convenient, however he or she is family. Today can be different.
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