The power of one
March 15, 2023
Not quite a fully-fledged aphorism, “the power of one” is nonetheless influential enough to incorporate into our day-to-day existence, bringing some degree of hope and imagination to lives dulled by indifferent culture. The everyday can be wearing, and the suggestion that any single person could make a grand difference is a rather distant and foreign concept for many.
Daily burdens weigh heavily on a most of the world’s population. “But, this isn’t what I signed up for,” rises the lament. A case can be made to the contrary, however. The choices we make, the people we engage, the tasks we undertake today, are predictors of where we are apt to be in the future. The reality is that few of us can go it alone in life, and so we ought to choose our traveling companions carefully.
Then Jesus comes along and throws a theological and cultural monkey wrench into the mix. It brings humanity’s machinery of arrogance to an abrupt halt. What foolishness, allowing the last to become first, the weak to garner care they cannot pay for, and people to merit undivided attentions, whether at a well, a beggar’s pool or high in a sycamore tree. When we are merely one of the crowds, a touch, a glance, an acknowledgement of any kind can be life altering in the right place, space or time. Jesus was adept at picking the right moment to gain maximum impact.
If Jesus had political “handlers” in his day, they would likely have been identified by their groans and eye rolls. Jesus must have been viewed as out of control in his most memorable moments. And still, people saw and felt something more than the everyday in him, a place of absolute safety and divine presence. They didn’t know quite what to call it, but they knew it and felt it and were deeply changed in the process.
For some, the change was startling, near instantaneous. For others it represented a long process of testing faith in community, each person pacing themselves in ways appropriate for who they were. That is also the case today as we mince words over our Christian vocabulary. The power of one and the power of the One are an unbeatable combination if we would stop nit-picking each other to death.
For Protestantism, Catholicism, and a host of faith groups to survive, it will take a reset in which the power of (one) (the One) must become manifest in our daily lives. How that occurs will be as varied as the culture from which it arises, but the possibilities are endless if we choose to concede them. We do not have to be perfect. That would negate the purpose of why we bother at all.
Pay attention to the divine in each person. They need not match your mold of who is Christian, who is deserving, and who is not. We might not meet their expectations as well. That’s okay. We are just one small voice, a power of one, and most importantly, a power of the One. Anything is possible.