One of challenges for this month’s One Word linkup at Lisa Notes is “Google your word or look it up on Wikipedia or in a Bible concordance or dictionary. Find out something unique about your word this month. See if you get a new insight.”
The word “connect” yielded no results when I searched for it in the New Testament using the Step Bible tool. But tweaking the term to add some synonyms was more successful.
The Greek word sumbibazo has the active meaning “to prove, instruct, teach, advise.” It’s found in verses including 1 Corinthians 2:16 — “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” (English Standard Version). But used passively, the same word means “to join or knit together” — to be connected, in other words.
Colossians 2:2 has it: “that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.” And verse 19 in the same book: “not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”
This verse in the New International Version reads: “They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.” The word translated as “connection” here is krateo, to grasp or seize. The same word is used when Christ heals Peter’s mother-in-law and Jairus’s daughter, grasping their hands and helping them to rise from their sickbeds. Healing power grasps our disconnected parts and knits them together, in love, helping them to grow in accordance with a divine plan.
As I’ve struggled with some health issues this year, I’ve been moved to muse upon how fine and how complex the connections between the parts of our body are, and upon how little I am able to grasp them with my head. If I had to fully manage my digestive processes out of my current abilities of thought, for example, I would fail utterly. They are way too complicated and multi-layered for my feeble mind. Often my choices are driven by subconscious emotional energies that I am unable to fully grasp either. The whole process tends to lead me to dysfunction and disconnection from a healthy way of growing.
Something seems to have gone wrong with the human head, if the head is really supposed to be the element through which all the rest of the body is organized in a healthy way. I need to re-orient my head toward a thinking that really does know what is best for me, that sees further than I can and that understands how my parts are put together much better than I do.
I do not believe this means denigrating the human intellect or putting my thinking aside completely. There is a seed of potential in human thinking that should be cultivated and honored. But I also know, after many painful and humiliating experiences, that when I try to grasp things too firmly only through my own head, and to maintain control out of my current, limited perspective, it does not go well. I lose my connection to the bigger picture that way, and things start to fall apart into chaos.
We are able, through our thinking, to recognize and aspire to a higher wisdom. That is what I would connect to, above all. Then my body may be healed, and reconnected to the body of humanity, of which in turn it is a part.