Although we humans are all related, we are more than a family tree with a single trunk and branches that grow linearly. I see our relationships more like a spider web through which we are delicately interconnected by the spider’s ability to create intricate stringed patterns and potential protection.
In 1 Samuel, we read that Saul wants to kill David.
Jewish legend says that after David flees and finds a cave in which to hide, God sends a spider to spin a web at the cave’s entrance. Seeing the web, Saul and his troops surmise that David couldn’t be there because the web is intact; so they leave, and David survives.
Just as a spider web can be torn down on purpose or demolished by people walking into it accidentally, we must figure out a way not to get caught in the sticky silk. How do we do that?
The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council (disclosure: I am convener of the organization) came up with a theme for its Table of Faiths event: “The Uncommon Response: Inspiring the Sacred in All Things.”
What would be an uncommon response to the heart-wrenching, horrifying murders of the four innocent teens, three Jewish Israelis and one Muslim Arab who could have been any one of our sons?
The victims’ families showed us one way. They consoled each other. Groups of Jewish and Arab Israelis gathered to speak out against vengeance and promote using words to resolve the conflict rather than violence.
We can also look to Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Nelson Mandela and remember how they demonstrated uncommon ways to resolve injustices.
The fighting and violence is not only happening in Israel and the Palestinian territories. It is happening all over the world. Yes, we live in a worldwide web — not only online, but also in concept.
When one thread comes undone, it can affect the rest. We can preserve the web by having dialogue, seeing the children in the situation and avoiding thinking only about our own corner.
The awareness of our interconnectedness and how we react and interact with each other is the uncommon response to tragedy, whether it occurs within our own homes or halfway around the world.
Unlike a family tree in the forest, where the branches don’t connect from tree to tree, a web links us inextricably to each other. Let’s figure out a way to protect the web not only for the sake of the Weaver, but also for the sake of creation, humanity and all our children.
Sheila Sonnenschein is one of The Star’s 13 Faith Walk writers. She can be reached at email@example.com.