As Christians, we recognize that we are called to love God and to love our neighbours. Love for others cannot be limited to the level of speaking nice words; our love must extend to serious actions. Solidarity is sacred because it is the result of caring and responsible love. Solidarity is the kind of love that Jesus showed and that Jesus calls us to share with one another.
1 Peter 4: 7–11
7 The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 11 Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
One word for the active work of love is care. Care is not just a feeling but an action—a behaviour that expresses true and deep love. Caring people can think of others with love and actively seek the wellbeing of others in need. When we care for others as fellow human beings, standing together despite our differences and with respect for one another as equals, this is solidarity. Jesus taught us that solidarity is sacred. Jesus himself took care of all around him, and he treated no one as less important or deserving than anyone else. The Bible reminds us that this was Jesus’ purpose and mission: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38) Even Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion show God’s solidarity with humanity, and especially human pain, suffering, and oppression. The cross of Christ, originally a symbol of execution, becomes a symbol of the power of sacred solidarity to defeat sin, evil, and death itself.
The early church also sought to live with solidarity in all areas of their life. These Christian communities shared all they had with one another and were defined not only by what they said but by their actions to care for others. The apostles, like Peter and Paul, urged these communities not to give some members higher status and some members lower status, due to personal wealth or any other factor, but to live, work, and worship together as equals, in solidarity with one another and with the mission of Jesus Christ.
In Nablus, the city where I serve, there is a place called Tikieah, in which people cook and offer free, good-quality food every day to all who ask, regardless of who they are. This is one example of solidarity in our society for all. Another example is the solidarity expressed by people of different nationalities and faiths—including Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and others all around the world—who come together to work for a just peace for Jerusalem, the Holy Land, and every place of injustice and conflict. Solidarity is not always easy, but when human beings find solidarity, it is a sacred gift that helps us to glimpse the heart of God.
Peter 4: 9-10 offers us a model for solidarity in a human community: “9Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” In this guidance, we can understand that solidarity is deeply connected to sacredness. In offering hospitality to one another, serving wholeheartedly, giving happily, thinking of others, and praying for all, we experience God’s blessing touching our hearts and we receive God’s peace and deep comfort.
In this way, solidarity is a sacred relationship: it offers grace and tranquillity to the one who gives and the one who receives.
1. Why do you think solidarity is sacred?
2. What are some examples of solidarity in your context?
Holy God, you show us that acts of kindness and mercy are among the characteristics of a Christian believer; and you, O Lord, have planted these qualities in us. Help us, o Lord, to see your face in every person who is poor and needy, in every person who is sick or captive, in every person who needs care and guidance. Call us into solidarity with all your people, as you on the cross stood in ultimate solidarity with us. Bless us and bless our lives for your service. Amen.