The Chaplain's Notebook


We are all in this together is much more than a simple or ordinary phrase. It expresses a truth that affects all of us. We are brought into life from love. The love of human parents, plus the love of God, who made that love come alive. God is the spirit in each of us, and we share the inheritance by living our lives together.

The Bible teaches that “we are every brother’s keeper.” It reminds us that within the original familial relationship dwells our philosophical responsibility to one another. This reminder is the golden rule, or greater principle, that clarifies our moral purpose.

“The ‘neighbors’ for whom you must care are not only the people around you, but the entirety of this large, unruly human family from which you are a lucky, and burdened, descendent. Each member of this family is your ‘brother.’ And none, therefore, are you free to abandon.”

The only way we can develop as humans is by having people around us who both teach us and who we teach. In order for us to develop spiritually, we must live within a community that both pushes us to grow and also advanced from our efforts. If we are not living, we suffer because we receive diminished light.

The continued efforts of you, the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department, make the relationship with the greater community one of sharing the wisdom, physical or spiritual sustenance that was meant for us all. You make it so that those who were meant to give those things to us also gain wisdom, physical or spiritual sustenance.

We’re meant to live together within a spiritual community. We affect everyone in it, including those who are meant to give to us. And if they have diminished light because they weren’t able to give to us, then of course we receive diminished light, and that cycle continues. It’s true that every time we give in to our ego and selfish desires, the light of somebody in our spiritual system — it could be a family, friend, teacher or student — is diminished by our selfishness as well.

Start paying attention to the interactions you have with every single person you encounter. Everyone you find in your spiritual and physical community is meant to be either giving to you or receiving from you. Remember that when you fall, even in the smallest ways, you are not only robbing yourself of light and blessings, but also robbing those who are meant to both receive from you and give to you some of their blessings.

As common descendants of Adam, we are not free to abandon our brotherhood with Abel. We are simply not permitted to allow the strains created by national, cultural, linguistic, religious or racial differences to cloud our responsibility to those who are hurt or violated. Instead, we must step up to this lingering question whenever it is asked and answer purposefully: “I am my brother’s keeper.” We are all in this together!