Last week I sat with my parents at the computer, exploring all of the amazing data that the simple act of a cheek swab can produce. If you’ve got the inclination, a minimal amount of time and a way to foot the bill, you can have your DNA unraveled by experts who will translate the complex coding in your deoxyribonucleic acid into terms you can both understand and appreciate.
It’s fascinating, really, to wade through the vast amount of information available through a simple DNA test! Not only can you see potential health issues and risks, but you can weigh those against the health-related concerns that you are at a decreased risk to acquire. Somehow, the highly intelligent scientists and researchers can actually show you on a map where the roots of your bloodline can be traced to. You can even opt to make contact with others who have had their genetic code deciphered and whose DNA places them in relationship to you!
This is actually the part that excited me the most, as I looked through my parent’s test results last week. One column on the results page listed famous people whose DNA is closely linked with ours…
And when I saw Jimmy Buffett and Bono on the list, so many things in my life finally began to make sense!
My love for story (any self-respecting Parrothead knows what I’m talking about).
The tug on my heart toward a life marked by simple pleasures and deep wisdom (things that we don’t learn in school).
The tension of being in the world but not of it (which Bono personifies to the nth degree).
The intensely spiritual nature of our distinctly physical existence and the ways in which we dance between the two.
The increasing awareness within my own life of the issues of justice and global community, and the threads of Spirit that connect us across oceans and borders and boundary lines (oft embedded in the missional musings of U2).
There’s a yearning inside of me for those things that my DNA-cousins Jimmy & Paul have artfully woven into music that you and I can sing along to, almost without realizing just how well we know the words. Things like relationship, community, meaning and purpose, taking ourselves less seriously while considering the value of others, simplicity, transparency, and peeling back the protective layers that keep us from personally experiencing the rawness of living fully-exposed to the elements, come what may.
Who knew that our physical DNA could unearth connections like these?
In the most basic terms, DNA is the master plan of life that works all the way from inception to growth. It holds all of our hereditary information and passes it along from generation to generation. Our DNA contains the instructions needed for an organism to develop, survive and reproduce.
In a physical sense, we are the sum of our DNA building blocks. While the majority of our DNA is remarkably similar to the DNA found in others, there is just enough uniqueness to make me distinctly me and you distinctly you.
The same is true, I propose, of our spiritual DNA.
Physical DNA is, first of all, hereditary. Passed down from countless generations without our input. Received, not requested. Given, not acquired.
Spiritually, we are all recipients of a sort of DNA which holds the basic information about who we are and where we came from. This spiritual DNA points to the roots of our existence, revealing the Master and His plan for redemption that includes every single living, breathing being throughout the course of time. We didn’t participate in the creation of this DNA, yet it was placed inside each one of us when the Spirit breathed life into our lungs and invited us to become an integral part of the ongoing work of God in this world. We didn’t ask for it to be given to us, it was all gift.
Within this spiritual DNA is all of the information that is needed for each of us to develop into God-connected people! As with physical DNA, however, to carry out these functions DNA sequences must be converted into messages that can be used to produce action (physically, to create proteins, which are the complex molecules that do most of the work in our bodies).
What this means to me is that each one of us is already filled with all of the God-given DNA needed for a spiritually thriving life! Every man and woman who draws breath has been endowed with all of the tools to git r done in the Kingdom of God!
Why doesn’t everyone, then, develop into fully-formed spiritual beings whose life is drawn from the abundantly available life-source Himself?
And, if spiritually there is more about us that is similar than that which is unique, why do we land all over the spectrum when it comes to our interpretation of that common DNA?
Maybe it’s all about the messages. If physical DNA does not send the message that creates action in the way of proteins, there’s a breakdown in the system. Our bodies fail to get the message. Our DNA is unable to do its work.
If our spiritual DNA fails to be converted into messages that invoke action in the living of our lives, there’s a breakdown in the system. The work we were created to do remains undone. We may fail to develop and grow in healthy ways. We may neglect the connectedness of our DNA to others, instead choosing to hold on with a death-grip to our minute distinctiveness – elevating what sets us apart from others over that which knits us together.
The Good News on this PINK Tuesday is that ACTIVATION is available today! The catalyst Himself comes at our request, bringing new life to dead places. Speaking truth to those who have known only lies. Scattering messages of hope and promises of growth like seeds, which take root and spring forth into actively living, growing illustrations of what it looks like to have good spiritual genes!
And we know what good genes look like, right?
(Can’t you see the family resemblance?)