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We belong to one another. I’ve had the opportunity to ruminate on these words for a couple of months now as I have been preparing for a summer at Cross Missions. To be candid, these words didn’t strike me past the surface until I spent my first week with middle schoolers.

The words, “we belong to one another” are inspired by the scripture Romans 15:7. This verse quotes, “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” In my opinion, we belong to one another because we ALL belong to God. Because we are all united by common humanity, we are each other’s keepers. So how do we live this? What does it mean to accept someone?

As I served with my first group of students, there were two ministry sites that struck them. The first was Charlotte Rescue Mission, which is a faith-based facility for men experiencing addiction and working towards recovery. The second was Lifespan, which is a creative care facility for adults with physical or mental disabilities. Near the end of the week I charged my middle schoolers with the question, “How was the way you interacted with the adults at Charlotte Rescue Mission and Lifespan similar or different?” Some students gave the obvious answers mentioning the differing activities we did, or talking about the contrasting demographics. There was one young man though, who spoke up with quite an insightful answer. He explained that these places and people were different, but in fact we approached them in the same way. We did not claim to have any insight into their situation, but chose to love them and interact with them as if they were one of our own. They belonged to us and we belonged to them. We are all children of God.

My students and I were faced with many situations that may not have been deemed the most comfortable or easy, yet they approached each one with humility and love. We learned that belonging to each other, goes a step deeper than just accepting one another. The glory of God is an umbrella that excludes no one, and to watch my students live this for a week was awe inspiring. Now, let’s do it every day.

-Bailey Morton (CROSS Intern)