The neighbour is our life; to bring connectedness with God to the neighbour is bound up with our own connection with God. The neighbour is our death, communicating to us the death sentence on our attempts to settle who we are in our own terms and to cling to what we reckon are our achievements. ‘Death is at work in us and life in you,’ as St Paul says (2 Corinthians 4:12), anticipating the themes of the desert. He is writing about the whole business of how the apostle’s suffering and struggle make the life of Christ visible in such a way that others are revived in hope.
And it is as others discover life that we receive it too – the gift we could not have expected as we, with such difficulty and reluctance and intermittent resentment, got used to letting go of our own lives and learning how to attend in love to the neighbour. We love with God when and only when we are the conduit for God’s reconciling presence with the person next to us.
It is as we connect the other with the source of life that we come to stand in the place of life, the place cleared and occupied for us by Christ.
Silence & Honey Cakes
Rowan Williams ( page 40)