interdigitate: \in-ter-DIJ-uh-tayt\ verb
Meaning: to become interlocked like the fingers of folded hands
"The edges [of bridge expansion joints] often are shaped like combs, the teeth of one interdigitating with teeth of the other." (The Washington Post, January 14, 1998)
When a child is born, the life of this little person begins to lock into the lives of others. If the family is healthy, the love of the parents wraps itself around the infant to protect and serve, soothing his or her cries by rocking, touching, feeding, bathing.
With every milestone the child weaves itself more solidly into the fabric of the family: the first smile, rolling over, crawling, cooing syllables, pulling himself up to stand, taking her first steps, the first intelligible word... The family delights itself in the progress of the child. Rather than scolding missteps or failures, they encourage, hold steading arms out to provide balance, clap their hands at successes, and always expect growth and progress.
Sometimes we forget that God is our Father. When we are born into his family through Christ, he is our Encourager. He provides the Church, a family of believers who cheers us on. He expects that we will grow up into the faith with our spiritual family. We eat together (communion and study of scriptures), confess our sins to each other and God (cleanliness), and mature through spiritual disciplines. God expects us to care for younger siblings as we grow older, as well.
God is not the harsh Father who scolds and batters us. Rather, he disciplines us for our good (Hebr. 12), and tenderly watches over us, like a hen gathering the chicks under her feathers. He is pleased when we interdigitate with his people, locking ourselves tightly into the webs of caring and divine love that serve the world around them.
Who are we interweaving our lives with? Fellow believers? Or is the world binding us to itself as we accumulate goods and assimilate the culture of the gods of this world? Who are our connections drawing in and serving this week?
My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 108:1-5 NIV
*Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me,cand whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:35-40 NIV
*Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV