By Tom Yaccino
“For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” Ephesians 2:10 NRSV
I recently watched a video on the science of connecting and compassion that deepened my convictions on the importance of just relationships. As Paul writes in Ephesians, we were designed to serve, do good and cultivate community… it is “to be our way of life”. That God design that is imprinted in our DNA is being confirmed by biologists, nueroscientists and researchers.
This video highlights a discovery by neurologist Jonathan Height. Height discovered that all the nerves, synapses and chemicals in our bodies are heightened and working together best when we are caring for others, that we are hard wired to make a compassionate response to the troubles of other human beings.
WE WERE MADE TO LOVE!
Scientists have discovered that the Vegas nerve, in particular, is activated when we show this loving care or even observe compassionate responses of others to those in need. The nerve causes our chest to expand, our eyes can even tear up, we experience a rush or elation in our being. The biological response of loving another in need gives us a sense of elation. We were born to be our bothers keeper. Some call this biological response to doing good as elevation.
This sense of deep connection is what we experience when we get out of ourselves and are open to listening to, learning about, engaging with the other, and showing hospitality to the stranger and generosity among those in need. This connection is, in fact, living out who God designed us to be.
But when we negate our God-given designs, and become SELF-centered, instead of being elated or “elevated” we go down. We excavate and dig a hole for ourselves that ends up being dark and lonely leading to depression and anger and disconnectedness.
U2 expresses this poetically in their song, Elevation, “Love, lift me out of these blues, Won’t you tell me something true, I believe in you… A mole, Digging in a hole, Digging up my soul now, Going down, excavation I and I, in the sky, You make me feel like I could fly, So high… ELEVATION!”
We need one another. We need to experience interdependency which is a tangible expression of LOVE and CONNECTEDNESS.
Our bodies need this! How many of us have neglected the very reason and nature God has designed and imprinted in our bodies, minds and spirit? How does that make us feel? What good fruit comes from that self-centered, excavated existence?
May this scientific evidence further deepen our conviction that we need one another. We need to seek justice, and love compassionately, and build community.
Just Relationships…Lord help us experience this elation, this elevation today and everyday.